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politics

Texas House of Representatives chamber Nov. 20, 2018.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

After a string of Texas House primary seasons featuring broad intraparty combat, the 2020 one is coming down to three runoffs Tuesday where hardline conservatives are out for a much-needed breakthrough.

A long-time educator and a man who calls President Donald Trump a “child rapist” are competing for the Republican nomination for a State Board of Education seat.

At Victoria Park in Irving, volunteers with the group Dems Care Vote Safe pack Ziploc bags with gloves, face masks and hand sanitizer to pass out to voters before the July runoff election.
Syeda Hasan / KERA News

On an overcast Saturday morning at Victoria Park in Irving, a couple dozen volunteers sit at picnic tables, packing Ziploc bags with gloves, face masks and hand sanitizer. 

Axel Gerdau / The Texas Tribune

There are political outsiders, and then there are outsiders — literally.

Across Texas’ most competitive congressional primaries, leading candidates are weathering scrutiny of their ties to the districts they are running for, fueling a dominant theme ahead of the March 3 primary. The dynamic is playing out across the state, mostly in GOP primaries and particularly in more rural districts, where there is a premium on local connections.

A polling location in San Antonio, Texas
Associated Press

A projected 32 million Latinos will be eligible to vote in this year’s U.S. presidential election, according to the Pew Research Center.

This means that Latinos, for the first time, will make up the largest racial and ethnic minority voting bloc.

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

President Trump told Ukraine's president that "a lot of people want to find out" about the activities of former Vice President Joe Biden's family in Ukraine and asked its leader to be in touch with lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General Bill Barr.

That's according to a briefing for correspondents about the contents of the July 25 phone call, on Wednesday at the Justice Department.

The next presidential election may be more than a year away, but groups working to get young people in the state civically engaged have been beefing up their operations for a while now.

One of those groups, MOVE Texas, has experienced a massive growth in staff, organizers and investments.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson / The Texas Tribune

Democrat Chris Bell, the former Houston congressman and gubernatorial nominee, is formally announcing his U.S. Senate campaign.

Minorities and elderly voters will likely be the most affected by the elimination of straight-ticket voting in 2020, according to a new report from the Austin Community College Center for Public Policy and Political Studies.

Until somewhat recently, being a Texas Democrat was kind of a bummer.  

Jason Stanford, a longtime Democratic operative in the state, says he got data on the scope of that political melancholy in 2006 while running a gubernatorial race.

Chris Haxel / KCUR

In the last few weeks, Democratic presidential candidates, Congressional leaders, and even the President, have been proposing various gun control policies to curb gun violence in America. But a recent study from the Journal of Rural Health shows that certain firearm laws are more effective at reducing violence than others, depending on if you live in an urban or rural area.

Associated Press

Allen West, a former congressman from Florida, announced Thursday he is running for Texas GOP chair, challenging current party leader James Dickey for the position.

Updated at 1:57 p.m. ET

On the presidential campaign trail in Iowa and on the op-ed page of The New York Times, former Vice President Joe Biden has made the case for going back to a nationwide ban on assault weapons and making it "even stronger."

Some have reacted with quizzical expressions: "Back?" "Stronger?"

This June 4, 2013, file photo shows Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, asking questions during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Associated Press

Long-time North Texas Congressman Kenny Marchant is the fourth Texas Republican member of the U.S. House to announce his departure.

Emree Weaver / The Texas Tribune

Republican Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen has launched a political action committee to help defend the GOP majority as Democrats push to take the lower chamber in 2020.

AP photo

A billionaire businessman rises from celebrity to the presidential stage, shaking up the establishment and raising nostalgic hopes about making America great again. Nearly three decades ago, that described Ross Perot, the plain-talking Texan who died Tuesday at age 89, leaving a lasting political legacy.

Today, we’re going to eavesdrop on a conversation between two people in Marfa, TX. It’s part of a new StoryCorps initiative called One Small Step (OSS) that brings together people on opposite sides of the political divide. Through StoryCorps conversations, the OSS Initiative seeks to remind people across the political and cultural divide of our shared humanity.

Scott Griggs and Eric Johnson go head-to-head for the Dallas mayor's seat beginning with early voting on Tuesday, May 28.
Candidate Facebook pages / Christy Robinson, KERA / Shutterstock

Dallas voters will cast final ballots for their next mayor on June 8, after whittling down the original field of nine candidates to two. Early voting ended June 4, with more than 50,000 ballots cast.

Associated Press photos

Texas hasn't gone blue in a presidential race since 1976, but a new poll indicates that at least early on, it could be a 2020 battleground. The latest survey from Quinnipiac University shows former Vice President Joe Biden with a four-point edge over President Trump in a hypothetical one-on-one matchup.

Associated Press

Half of U.S. adults consider fake news a major problem, and they mostly blame politicians and activists for it, according to a new survey.

Courtesy photos

The two survivors in the race to be the next Dallas mayor faced off Thursday night in a debate a little more than two weeks before the June 8 runoff.

Updated at 1:10 p.m. ET

Lori Lightfoot officially became Chicago's first black female and openly gay mayor on Monday. She immediately laid out a four-point plan for safety, education, stability and integrity during her 40-minute inauguration speech.

On election night, State Rep. Eric Johnson led a crowded field of nine candidates for Dallas mayor. He'll face City Council member Scott Griggs on June 8.
Bill Zeeble / KERA News

A busy weekend of local elections brought clarity in Fort Worth — where the mayor and the entire City Council were re-elected — and in Arlington, where the mayor coasted to an easy win. But in Dallas, things are murkier, at least until the June 8 runoff.

Eight Democratic presidential candidates participated in the She the People presidential forum at Texas Southern University in Houston on Wednesday. The event was billed as the "first-ever presidential forum focused on women of color" – a key demographic within the Democratic Party.

Dallas County Republican Chairwoman Missy Shorey.
Social Media

Dallas Republican Party Chairwoman Missy Shorey has died. She was 47, according to multiple media reports.

Shorey was a local trailblazer – the first woman elected to lead the Dallas GOP in 2017. She was reportedly considering a bid for Congress next year against U.S. Rep. Colin Allred of Dallas for the Texas 32nd District.

Time was when the word "socialism" had a firm footing in the American political lexicon, with as many meanings as it has collected in all the other nations where it has taken root — as mixed or pure, as planned or market, as democratic or authoritarian, as a dogma or simply an aspiration — "the name of our desire," as the critic Irving Howe (and Lewis Coser) famously defined it.

The New York Post is facing a barrage of criticism after its cover on Thursday featured an image of the World Trade Center, burning in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, below a terse quote by one of the first Muslim women serving in Congress.

"Rep. Ilhan Omar: 9/11 was 'Some people did something,' " the cover read. A caption underneath added, "Here's your something ... 2,977 people dead by terrorism."

Vice President Mike Pence spoke to a crowd of supporters in October during a campaign event in Dallas-area Park Cities for former U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions' re-election bid.
Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson for The Texas Tribune

Vice President Mike Pence is returning to Texas next week for a pair of fundraisers.

In a deeply divided America, a casual political debate can easily spiral into a shouting match — even if both parties set out to keep things civil. So how can we talk about thorny issues with people who fundamentally disagree with us?

Updated Wednesday at 8:35 a.m. ET

Lori Lightfoot has won Chicago's mayoral election, which capped a historic campaign between two African-American women who branded themselves as progressive and independent in a city known for its political machine.

After eight years of rule by Rahm Emanuel — a centrist Democrat who previously was a White House chief of staff and congressman — the results of Tuesday's balloting mean Chicago will now be led by a mayor who has never held elected office.

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