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Politics

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

Attorney General William Barr arrives to testify during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2019, on the Mueller Report.
Associated Press

UPDATE: 4:55 p.m. Wednesday, May 1

Attorney General William Barr has told members of the House Judiciary Committee that he will not testify before their committee Thursday.

From left: skylines of Fort Worth, Dallas and San Antonio.
Illustration by Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

Voters in some of Texas' biggest cities are heading to the polls Saturday to decide who should be their mayor.

In Dallas, a crowded field is vying to succeed term-limited Mayor Mike Rawlings. In Fort Worth, Mayor Betsy Price is seeking an unprecedented fifth term. And in San Antonio, Mayor Ron Nirenberg is up for a second term.

Former Vice President Joe Biden held his first rally in his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on Monday, saying he is running to restore the soul of the nation and to "rebuild the backbone" of America.

Biden spoke in Pittsburgh at a rally held by the International Association of Fire Fighters, which endorsed him earlier in the day. Biden declared himself "a union man" and said, "We need a president who works for all Americans."

Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and Democratic challenger MJ Hegar.
Juan Figueroa: Cornyn/Marjorie Kamys Cotera: Hegar

As U.S. Sen. John Cornyn derides her as "Hollywood Hegar," his newest Democratic challenger, MJ Hegar, says she's not backing away from her celebrity fans — including comedian Patton Oswalt — and is happy to debate the Republican incumbent on the sources of their support.

Michael Conroy / Associated Press

Amid an internal struggle over the direction of the National Rifle Association (NRA), retired Lt. Col. Oliver North let the group know at its annual convention that he would not seek another term as president.

Fort Worth mayoral candidate Deborah Peoples and incumbent Betsy Price
Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price is facing her toughest election fight since she won the office in 2011.

Price is running as a steady hand to steer the fast-growing city into the future. Tarrant County Democratic Party Chair Deborah Peoples says she’s the change agent that residents far from the city’s halls of power need to make Fort Worth work for them.

Former state Rep. Jason Villalba talks to the audience at a Dallas mayoral forum at the Scottish Rite Temple in March. Candidates discussed a variety of issues that especially affect people of color.
Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Professional political watchers say there’s no clear frontrunner among the nine candidates seeking to replace Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings in the May 4 municipal elections — making the race wide open. 

Each candidate will need to clearly communicate what approaches and priorities make him or her distinct.

Updated at 6:10 p.m. ET

After months of oscillating speculation, followed by a long ramp up that drew out uncomfortable reassessments of his long public career, former Vice President Joe Biden has announced that he will run for president in 2020.

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.

MJ Hegar speaksat an early vote rally at her field office in Austin, Texas on October 25, 2018. Hegar unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

Former Democratic congressional candidate MJ Hegar is running for U.S. Senate in 2020.

Hegar, a former Air Force helicopter pilot, mounted a high-profile bid to unseat U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, in November, fueled by attention-grabbing ads and massive fundraising. She ended up losing by less than 3 percentage points in the traditionally Republican district.

Most Dallas mayor candidates appeared at an election forum March 28, 2019, at the Dallas Scottish Rite Temple in downtown Dallas. Pictured is Dallas school board member Miguel Solis addressing the audience.
Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Early voting started Monday for the May 4 municipal elections across Texas, and the highest-profile election on local ballots may be the race for Dallas mayor. Term limits mean Mike Rawlings will leave after two four-year terms  leading the city. Meet the nine candidates running to replace him.

Yesenia Alvarado holds her daughter, 2-year-old Medicaid patient Melanie Almaraz, while waiting to see Dr. Alberto Vasquez for treatment of a fever at Su Clinica Familiar in Harlingen.
Eddie Seal for The Texas Tribune

Katherine Edmundson didn’t know her 7-year-old son was off Medicaid until she took him to the dentist for his annual cleaning in February. An employee at the front desk told her that his coverage was invalid and that her son couldn’t be seen that day.

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?

President Donald Trump's re-election campaign faces a crowded field of Democrats who want to challenge him for the presidency. Among them is Julian Castro. The former San Antonio mayor and secretary of U.S. Housing and Urban Development is not a household name. But he is working to change that.

California Rep. Eric Swalwell is the latest Democrat to jump into the race for president.

"I see a country in quicksand, unable to solve problems and threats from abroad, unable to make life better for people here at home. Nothing gets done," Swalwell said in an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Monday night.

State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, speaks at the Republican Party of Texas convention in San Antonio on June 16, 2018.
Bob Daemmrich / The Texas Tribune

After news broke that an activist pushing a “constitutional carry” gun proposal tried to visit the homes of several Texas House leaders, state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, declared his bill on the matter dead and wrote in a statement Friday he’s “officially canceling” his request for a committee hearing.

A coalition of state attorneys general is suing the Trump administration for weakening the federal nutrition standards for school meals that are fed to about 30 million children across the country.

Updated Wednesday at 2:15 p.m.

As more 2020 Democrats report their fundraising totals, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders remains ahead in the cash race with the $18.2 million he received from more than 500,000 donors since he entered the presidential campaign in February.

Welcome to the nightmare of being the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president, Joe.

Two women have complained about being touched inappropriately by former Vice President Joe Biden, who has been the leading (if still undeclared) candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

Biden's poll numbers, while far from overwhelming, have still been the best of the ever-widening Democratic field. So any story that even hints at a Biden scandal is going to lead the newscast and leap to the front page.

During his official presidential campaign kickoff rally in El Paso over the weekend, Beto O’Rourke directly refuted President Trump’s view of the country’s Southern border.

Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke speaks during his presidential campaign kickoff rally in Houston, Saturday, March 30, 2019.
Associated Press

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke declared that immigrants make the country safer as he staged rallies across Texas to formally kick off his 2020 White House bid. 

For years, short-term rentals – the rooms and homes on apps like Airbnb and HomeAway – have been the subject of lawsuits and hand-wringing on the part of regulators and people looking to rent out properties.

Days after Attorney General William Barr released his four-page summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation report, overwhelming majorities of Americans want the full report made public and believe Barr and Mueller should testify before Congress, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Only about a third of Americans believe, from what they've seen or heard about the Mueller investigation so far, that President Trump is clear of any wrongdoing. But they are split on how far Democrats should go in investigating him going forward.

Texas Secretary of State David Whitley office initiated a review of the voter rolls to look for noncitizens.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

The U.S. House’s main investigative committee has opened an inquiry into the Texas secretary of state’s review of the voter rolls for supposed noncitizens.

Texas House Approves 2020-21 Budget Plan, With Extra $9B For School Finance, Property Tax Relief

Mar 28, 2019
Texas House Appropriations Chairman John Zerwas, R-Richmond, talks with House Speaker Dennis Bonnen on March 27, 2019, as the House took up the budget debate.
Emree Weaver / The Texas Tribune

In Dennis Bonnen’s first major test as speaker of the Texas House, the chamber he oversees resoundingly passed a $251 billion budget Wednesday after a long but largely civil debate — a departure from the dramatics that have typically defined such an affair.

Beto O'Rourke got lots of attention from his campaign kickoff in Keokuk, Iowa. And thanks to some of his comments, not all of that attention was good.

At the start of his speech, O'Rourke referenced a call from his wife, Amy, "who's back in El Paso, Texas, where she is raising, sometimes with my help, Ulysses, who's 12 years old, Molly, who's 10, and their little brother, Henry, who is 8 years old."

To some Democratic voters, that seemed like a flip acknowledgment that he was handing off parenting duties to his wife while he pursued his political dreams.

There were two headline "principal conclusions" out of Attorney General William Barr's publicly released letter to Congress about the now-concluded Russia probe conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller:

  1. It "did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election."

Updated at 6:56 p.m. ET

Special counsel Robert Mueller did not find evidence that President Trump's campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election, according to a summary of findings submitted to Congress by Attorney General William Barr.

"The Special Counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election," Barr wrote in a letter to leaders of the House and Senate judiciary committees on Sunday afternoon.

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