Voter ID: In a filing, the state informed the federal judge overseeing the ongoing Voter ID litigation that it will “seek Supreme Court review of the Fifth Circuit’s opinion.” Further, the state argued that the district court should not go forward with “further consideration of discriminatory-purpose” claims until after the end of the 2017 legislative session, during which the Legislature may act “to ameliorate the issues raised” by the Fifth Circuit.
SD3: Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) is not on the ballot until 2018, but it appears that the NE Tarrant Tea Party is already targeting him. The Texas Tribune’s Patrick Svitek tweeted what appears to be a call to action from the group urging the recipient to contact Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and ask that he “replace liberal Nichols w/conservative Kolkhorst as Transportatn Chair” [sic]. Nichols was unopposed in the 2014 primary.
.@NETarrantTea texting members to ask @DanPatrick to replace Robert Nichols with @loiskolkhorst as Transpo chair: pic.twitter.com/vw8MEsHVFr
— Patrick Svitek (@PatrickSvitek) August 22, 2016
Nichols was rated as the 13th most conservative Republican senator by Rice University’s Mark Jones after the 2015 session. According to Empower Texans, Nichols is the third most liberal Senate Republican, scoring a 75 on its 2105 Fiscal Responsibility Index. He finished ahead of Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) and the retiring Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler), who scored a 73 and 71, respectively. The group has given him a career rating of F. Nichols received a 100% score from Texas Right to Life for the 2011 and 2015 legislative sessions, but the group gave him a 63% score in 2013. He received a B rating from Americans for Prosperity in 2015, but only Seliger scored lower among Republicans.
CD23: The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC supporting congressional Republicans, is pledging $800K to help U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-San Antonio) defend his seat against former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Alpine). Most of the funds will go toward television advertising, micro-targeting and digital media.
The race already figures to be one of the country’s most expensive. At least $4 million in outside money has already been pledged by outside groups.
City of Austin: Today (Monday) was the deadline to file for the five city council districts on the November ballot.
- D2: Incumbent Delia Garza faces social media manager Wesley Faulkner and professional boxer Casey Ramos.
- D3: Incumbent Greg Casar faces engineer Gonzalo Camacho and civil engineer Louis Herrin III. Herrin received 2% of the vote in 2014.
- D6: Incumbent Don Zimmerman faces a rematch against web developer Jimmy Flannigan. Zimmerman defeated Flannigan by 191 votes in the December 2014 runoff.
- D7: Incumbent Leslie Pool faces technical writer Natalie Gauldin, who is co-chair of Friends of the Grove, a group advocating for a 75-acre mixed-use development just off Bull Creek in north central Austin. Pool has been one of the project’s most vocal opponents; and
- D10: Incumbent Sheri Gallo faces philanthropic advisor Alison Alter, market analyst Nicholas Virden and accountant Rob Walker. Alter was Gallo’s appointee to the city’s parks commission, but she was removed by a unanimous vote of the city council. Part of the Grove development lies in D10. Gallo is a supporter, and Alter is opposed.
Mayor Steve Adler and the other five council members are not up for re-election until 2018.