Early Voting continues for the May 6 elections in jurisdictions holding them.

Redistricting: At a status conference today (Thursday) in San Antonio, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia said the court would issue an order Monday setting a schedule for further proceedings and “covering several matters that have been raised today.” Plaintiffs are expecting a trial on the 2013 maps to begin by August, which would necessarily mean concurrent paths for any appeals on rulings made against the 2011 maps and the application of those rulings toward the 2013 maps. The three-judge panel has found intentional constitutional and Voting Rights Act violations on maps drawn in 2011 for Congress and the Texas House of Representatives, but those maps were never used. Interim maps were drawn by the court and revised by the Legislature in 2013.

Rep. Mike Lang

Rep. Mike

HD60: Freshman Rep. Mike Lang (R-Granbury) is taking heat from a movement conservative group that once celebrated his challenge to former Rep. Jim Keffer (R-Eastland). The reason? Lang authored House Resolution 1633, honoring Keffer’s service in the Legislature. Featuring the headline, “Freshman Honors Corrupt Ex-lawmaker Turned Liberal Lobbyist,” a blog post on the Texans for Fiscal Responsibility/Empower Texans web site calls Lang’s “misguided” resolution a “major mistake that unnecessarily undermines his credibility.” The group endorsed Lang before the filing period began for the 2016 primary. It contributed $5K to his campaign, but, importantly, large donors to the group’s PAC and related campaigns contributed $320K, nearly three quarters of all funds he reported raising. Keffer retired, leaving Lang to face Granbury banker Kevin Downing in an open-seat primary which Lang won, 54%-46%.

Irving: Mayoral candidate Kristi Pena’s name will remain on the ballot, ruled Dallas County Judge Monica McCoy, confirming last month’s decision of the Fifth Court of Appeals. A rival candidate sued to remove Pena from the ballot over discrepancies in the signatures Pena filed with her ballot application. The city secretary was unable to confirm five of the 38 signatures submitted, originally leaving Pena three short of the 36 required, and she ruled Pena ineligible. At the time, the matter attracted attention from Reps. Jodie Laubenberg (R-Wylie) and Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving), who expressed support for Pena being placed on the ballot, and the movement conservative group Empower Texans. Without comment, the Fifth Court of Appeals ordered the city to accept Pena’s application and place her on the ballot. Pena’s attorney in the matter is former Dallas Co. Republican chair Wade Emmert.

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