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Politics

Political news from North Texas, across the state and beyond.

Republican incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz and his Democratic challenger, Congressman Beto O'Rourke, will debate tonight one final time before early voting begins Monday.

Tom Fox / The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool

The Texas Senate race is one of the closest-watched midterm contests in the country.

The Democratic challenger, Beto O’ Rourke, has been skateboarding through Facebook Lives, dueting with Willie Nelson and collecting a record $38 million in the last quarter — more than three times the total of incumbent Republican Ted Cruz.

Still, polls show Cruz leading by as many as nine points.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against President Trump by adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who claimed the president had defamed her earlier this year on Twitter.

The lawsuit was filed over a tweet Trump sent in April suggesting Daniels was lying about being threatened in 2011 not to go public with her story of an alleged sexual encounter with Trump.

The battle for the Senate is being fought on Republican-friendly turf, and with three weeks until Election Day the GOP is increasingly optimistic that the chamber will remain in the party's grasp.

Fears that a fiery Democratic opposition could turn the map upside down have abated some, now that the GOP base is more tuned in following the confirmation fight over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Mike Segar/Reuters and Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

President Donald Trump is set to visit Houston on Oct. 22 to hold a rally for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in his re-election campaign.

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is still missing, nearly two weeks after he entered the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul. And questions continue to swirl about his disappearance. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was dispatched to Riyadh, while in Istanbul, a team of investigators searched the consulate.

President Trump told reporters on Monday morning that he had just spoken with Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, who he said "firmly denied any knowledge" of what happened to Khashoggi.

But Trump had a theory.

Ivan Pierre Aguirre for The Texas Tribune

U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, raised $38.1 million for his U.S. Senate campaign in the third quarter, a new record for the largest fundraising quarter ever in a U.S. Senate race, according to his campaign.

Ivan Pierre Aguirre: O'Rourke/Bob Daemmrich: Cruz

WASHINGTON — A new poll released Thursday morning showed Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has stabilized his lead over his Democrat challenger, U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke of El Paso.

Can A Moderate Democrat Win In A Texas District Held By Republicans For Decades?

Oct 11, 2018
Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

DALLAS — Texas House candidate Lisa Luby Ryan urged Republican voters to remain optimistic for the fall election season at her North Dallas home on a rainy September afternoon.

Groups working to eliminate the right to abortion in Texas are rethinking their legislative strategies now that Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a conservative, has a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gus Contreras / KERA News

Surging voter-registration numbers are one sign that the bitter partisan fight over Brett Kavanaugh's appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court is energizing voters on both sides of the aisle.

Updated 4:55 p.m. ET

Nikki Haley is resigning as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and will leave the Trump administration at the end of the year, she said Tuesday.

It is not immediately clear what prompted the move. She informed her staff Tuesday, NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

Haley appeared with President Trump on Tuesday morning at the Oval Office, where he called her a "fantastic person" and said Haley had told him six months ago that she might take time off at the end of the year.

Vice President stumped for U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions on Monday at Park Cities Hilton in Dallas. Sessions is in a battle for Congressional District 32 with Democrat Colin Allred, a civil rights attorney and former NFL linebacker.
Christopher Connelly/KERA

Vice President Mike Pence came to Dallas on Monday to campaign for a pair of Republican incumbents, U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. Both are facing tough Democratic challengers.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

Tuesday is the last day to register to vote in the November elections in Texas. It’s also the last day to update your address if you’ve moved since the last time you voted.

Updated at 4:40 p.m. ET

Inside the Senate chamber Friday, lawmakers gathered to consider Brett Kavanaugh's controversial nomination to Supreme Court. There, the federal judge earned just enough support to advance to a final vote on his confirmation.

Liam James Doyle/NPR

A deeply divided Senate pushed Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination past a key procedural hurdle Friday, setting up a likely final showdown this weekend in a battle that's seen claims of long-ago sexual assault by the nominee threaten President Donald Trump's effort to tip the court rightward for decades.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Texas's 33rd Congressional District looks like a misshapen barbell, stretching from Fort Worth to North Dallas and Oak Cliff. Farther south, the city of Austin includes slices of six different districts.

Gabriella Demczuk /The New York Times via AP, Pool

Update, 10 a.m. Central Friday, Oct. 5, 2018: The livestream of the proceedings and cloture vote has ended. Continue intermittently watching live Senate debate until the final vote.

A Quick Look At Brett Kavanaugh, The New Supreme Court Justice
Senate Decides 51-49 To Proceed To A Final Vote On Brett Kavanaugh

Updated at 8:41 p.m. ET

Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court cleared a key procedural hurdle in the Senate on Friday, and his confirmation now seems all but certain, after a key swing vote, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, declared her support in a speech on the Senate floor.

Moments after Collins completed her remarks, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced in a statement that he too will support the nomination when it comes up for a final vote.

That final vote is expected as soon as Saturday.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

EL PASO — Former President Barack Obama has endorsed 11 Texas Democrats leading up to next month’s midterm elections. But none go by the popular four-letter moniker “Beto”.

FBI special agents spoke with nine people as they investigated allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the White House said on Thursday.

Administration officials declined to detail who had spoken with investigators, but some of the people involved, or their lawyers, have talked on their own about whether or not they have given interviews to the FBI.

Updated at 10:12 p.m. ET

Judge Brett Kavanaugh issued a mea culpa of sorts on the eve of a key Senate vote that could determine whether or not he reaches the Supreme Court, admitting in an op-ed that his testimony last week forcefully defending himself from sexual assault allegations "might have been too emotional at times."

Updated at 7:51 a.m. ET on Thursday

The FBI's highly anticipated supplemental background check on Brett Kavanaugh was sent to the White House and Capitol Hill overnight, with senators set to review the report on Thursday in the final chapter of what has become a deeply acrimonious confirmation battle.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced the planned arrival of the report on Wednesday night and said all senators would get a chance to review it ahead of the next procedural milestones in the chamber.

Just over a month away from critical elections across the country, the wide Democratic enthusiasm advantage that has defined the 2018 campaign up to this point has disappeared, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

In July, there was a 10-point gap between the number of Democrats and Republicans saying the November elections were "very important." Now, that is down to 2 points, a statistical tie.

After a day of wrenching testimony from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford — who has accused him of sexual assault in high school — more Americans say they believe Ford's account over Kavanaugh's denials, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Wednesday.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush signed a resolution Tuesday agreeing to changes to the Alamo grounds.

The master plan calls for closing streets around the Alamo, creating a museum, and relocating the Cenotaph monument that honors defenders to another spot in the plaza – a proposal that generated some public opposition.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson for The Texas Tribune

Vice President Mike Pence is visiting Dallas on Monday to campaign for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, according to a White House official.

Updated on Wednesday at 4:15 p.m. ET

Wednesday afternoon, at exactly 2:18 p.m. ET, million of Americans received a text headlined "Presidential Alert" on their cellphones.

But it wasn't exactly from President Trump. Rather, it was a test of a new nationwide warning system that a president could use in case of an armed attack by another country, a cyberattack or a widespread natural disaster.

Abby Livingston / The Texas Tribune

Two people were taken to the hospital Tuesday after a "white powdery substance" was sent to the Houston campaign office of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, according to authorities who said the powder turned out not to be hazardous.

Updated at 9:49 p.m. ET

President Trump continued his defense Tuesday of his Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, mocking one of Kavanaugh's accusers at a Mississippi campaign rally.

The latest move by Trump came just hours after he had highlighted the possibility of false accusations against young men in the midst of a cultural moment brought on in the past year by the #MeToo movement.

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