Single-punch Elimination: By a 20-10 party-line vote, the Senate tentatively approved a bill that would end single-punch voting for all a political party’s candidates. Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills), sponsor of House Bill 25 by Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton), amended the bill to delay its effective date to September 2020. Hancock said his amendment would give more time for candidates and election officials to prepare for the change. Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) said he expected the bill would be challenged in court, arguing that the bill would “dilute the vote of Democrats and, more specifically, minorities.”
Final Senate approval is expected Thursday. The bill would then return to the House for a vote to concur in the Senate amendment.
Note: Jeff Blaylock, publisher of Texas Election Source, is on record as being in favor of House Bill 25.
SD19: Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio) turned himself in to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in San Antonio a day after being indicted on 13 counts of bribery, conspiracy and money laundering. Uresti has said he is innocent. “I look forward to my day in court,” he said upon leaving his initial hearing. “Meanwhile, I have a job to do. I’m headed back to Austin, back to the Capitol, to do what I was elected to do by the voter, and that is to fight.”
HD60: Granbury trucking company owner Mason Casas has filed paperwork establishing a campaign committee for a potential challenge to Rep. Mike Lang (R-Granbury) as a Democrat. Earlier this spring, Casas had established a federal campaign committee for a potential challenge to U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Midland) as a Democrat, but he has since ended that campaign. In a Facebook post announcing the decision, Casas said, “I felt I would have a bigger voice for Texas if I ran for a Texas House of Representative [sic] seat. We will be launching our new campaign soon.”
Measured by 2016 straight-party voting advantage, HD60 is the 3rd most Republican House district in the state. Democrats have fielded a candidate for this seat just three times since former Rep. John R. Cook (D-Breckenridge) was defeated by Jim Keffer (R-Eastland) in 1996. None received more than 30% of the vote, and the Republican nominee (Keffer until 2014, Lang in 2016) has been unopposed in November since 2008.
CD21: Austin tech entrepreneur Joseph Kopser has scheduled a “special announcement” for May 23 to announce he will indeed challenge U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio) as a Democrat. Kopser announced he was “seriously considering challenging” Smith in March when he set up a CrowdPAC fundraising page. As of today (Wednesday), that page has raised 550 pledges for $86K toward a $100K goal.
CD32: Former Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) endorsed Colin Allred, who worked on her 2014 gubernatorial campaign. Allred is one of at least nine Democrats who have taken a formal step toward challenging U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Dallas).
San Antonio: Rep. Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio) endorsed challenger Ron Nirenberg for the mayoral runoff.