GOV: Democratic runoff candidates Lupe Valdez and Andrew White will reportedly debate May 11 in Austin. The debate will be organized by several Democratic groups, according to a press release issued by James Lee, Hispanic Caucus State Committeeman of the Texas Democratic Party. Details, including location (“projected to take place at the University of Texas at Austin”) and moderator “will be released over the coming days.”

House Speaker: Rep. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas) filed paperwork establishing his candidacy for Speaker. He joins three Republicans – Reps. Phil King (R-Weatherford), Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound) and John Zerwas (R-Richmond) – in the race to succeed the retiring Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio). Others are expected to enter the race before the Legislature convenes in January.

Johnson’s entry into the race drew praise from a number of Democrats and at least one Republican:

HD8 open: Former Gov. Rick Perry (R) endorsed Thomas McNutt in the Republican runoff over Cody Harris.

HD13 open: The Texas Home School Coalition has withdrawn its endorsement of Ben Leman in the special and Republican runoff elections, citing “his recent public statements indicating opposition to efforts that we believe are the best interests of Texas families.” The group’s press release did not specify which statements triggered the withdrawal of support. In a debate last week, Leman appeared to disparage Empower Texans and Texas Right to Life in comments aimed at drawing distinctions between him and runoff opponent Jill Wolfskill.

Meanwhile, Leman reported just under $10K in contributions, including $8K in kind from Associated Republicans of Texas, in a pair of daily pre-election reports. Wolfskill reported an additional $1K contribution.

HD107: The Dallas Morning News reiterated its prior endorsement of Joe Ruzicka for the Republican runoff against Deanna Metzger.

CD2 open: Conservative Results Matter, a new Super PAC based in Cedar Park, released an ad, “Insane,” attacking Republican runoff candidate Dan Crenshaw for comments he made about Donald Trump on Facebook in 2015.

Crenshaw told Politico that he has “always supported President Trump” but did not always support him as a candidate.

The PAC, which was established on March 29, lists Deanna Hayes as its treasurer. Its most recent campaign finance report indicated it had not raised or spent any funds, likely because the report covered just the first three days of the PAC’s existence. Since 2011, she has been the treasurer for several PACs and committees, including Conservatives for Coal, Missouri Rising Action PAC, Responsible Leadership for America, Rushmore SuperPAC and Sam Adcock for Congress.

CD6 open: An internal poll conducted for the Ron Wright campaign shows Wright leading Republican runoff opponent Jake Ellzey, 47%-24%, but nearly 30% of “likely voters” polled by WPA Intelligence were undecided. The poll results closely mirror results of the primary election. Wright received 45% of the vote while Ellzey received 22%. The other nine candidates combined for 33%. The poll indicated that Wright had higher name identification (82% to 53%) and higher favorability ratings (49/14 versus 30/4). The poll’s stated margin of error is ±4.9%.

CD27 open: Former U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Corpus Christi) rejected Gov. Greg Abbott’s demand that he pay for the emergency special election called to replace him. “A special election was not warranted and should not have been called,” Farenthold said in a letter to Abbott. “Since I didn’t call it and don’t think it’s necessary, I shouldn’t be asked to pay for it.”

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