Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced his intent to appoint former appellate justice Jane Bland to the Texas Supreme Court to succeed Justice Jeff Brown, who has been confirmed as a federal district judge by the U.S. Senate. Bland authored more than 1,200 signed opinions while serving on the First Court of Appeals from her appointment in 2003 until her narrow 2018 general election loss to Gordon Goodman (D).

Bland is Abbott’s third appointee to the state’s highest court, joining Justices Jimmy Blacklock and Brett Busby. Both Bland and Busby will face voters in 2020. Bland will run for the remaining four years of Brown’s term while Busby seeks a full six-year term. Blacklock won a full term last year.

HD60: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) endorsed Rep. Mike Lang (R-Granbury) for re-election.

CD16: El Paso resident Jaime Arriola Jr. established a campaign committee for a potential challenge of U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-El Paso) as a Republican.

CD22 open: Houston attorney Howard Steele established a campaign committee for a potential run for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land) as a Republican.

CD23 open: Alpine attorney Jaime Escuder established a campaign committee for a potential run for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-San Antonio) as a Democrat. Escuder lost a 2016 race for district attorney, 56%-44%, after ousting Democratic incumbent Rod Ponton in the primary.

FEC Resignation: Vice Chairman Matthew Petersen (R) has resigned, effective August 31, leaving the agency without a quorum. Two other seats on the six-member commission are vacant. Nearly two years ago, President Trump nominated attorney Trey Trainor, a former aide to Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford), to succeed Petersen, but the U.S. Senate has not taken action on his nomination. Trump has re-nominated Trainor twice but otherwise has made no further appointments to the agency. Collectively, the four current commissioners (including Petersen) have served 36 years past the expiration of their terms. Chair Ellen Weintraub, a Democrat, has been a holdover appointee since her term expired in 2007.

El Paso: The city’s legal counsel said city council member Cassandra Hernandez automatically resigned her position when a Facebook page for her possible mayoral campaign was published online, even if it was inadvertent. Mayor Dee Margo last week called for the council to order a special election, but a divided council postponed a final decision until September 3 when all council members and the mayor, who was out of the country, could be present. Hernandez and her counsel argued she had not resigned and there is no vacancy to be filled.

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