AG: District Judge Robert Johnson did not a set a date for Attorney General Ken Paxton’s criminal securities fraud trial during a preliminary hearing today in Houston. Prosecutors asked Johnson to put the case on hold until a decision is made in a separate lawsuit regarding payment for their services. Paxton’s attorneys argued against the delay. Johnson said he would delay proceedings until July 27 in order to get himself caught up on the case before making any significant decisions. Johnson was recently selected by random draw to take over the case from District Judge George Gallagher, who was effectively removed from the case by an appeals court after he decided to have it transferred to Harris Co. Johnson was elected in November. He defeated former District Judge Ryan Patrick, son of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, as part of a Democratic sweep of county and judicial offices.

House Speaker: The Conservative Republicans of Texas, long a critic of Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio), intend to promote a challenger when the special session convenes next month. The group touted a poll it commissioned that showed “68% of grassroots Republicans want Straus removed as Speaker in the Special Session and want him replaced with a conservative Republican who would pass Gov. Abbott’s legislative agenda.” As far as we can tell, no one has filed as a candidate, and the group has not indicated who the challenger might be. Straus was unanimously elected in January to a fifth term as the chamber’s presiding officer, tying him with former Speakers Gib Lewis (D-Fort Worth) and Pete Laney (D-Hale Center) for the longest-tenured speakers in state history.

HD84: Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) announced he would seek re-election.

CD27: Banquete resident Rene Peña Jr. has established a federal campaign committee for a potential challenge of Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Corpus Christi) as a Democrat.

See our 2018 Challengers page for all 178 challengers and open seat candidates who we confirm have taken a formal step toward running for state and federal office from Texas in 2018.

San Angelo: Just 270 people have cast ballots during the first three and a half days of early voting for the D6 runoff election between Steve Hampton and Billie Dewitt. During the May 6 election, a total of 1,645 votes were cast for the six candidates. Early voting concludes Monday, and Election Day is July 8.

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