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Politics

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

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Republican Pete Flores' upset victory in a Democratic-friendly Texas Senate district Tuesday night has spurred GOP jubilation and Democratic soul-searching with less than two months until the November elections.

A former classmate of Christine Blasey Ford tells NPR that she does not know if an alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh took place as she first suggested on social media.

"That it happened or not, I have no idea," Cristina King Miranda told NPR's Nina Totenberg. "I can't say that it did or didn't."

That's different from what Miranda wrote Wednesday in a now-deleted Facebook post that stated definitively, "The incident DID happen, many of us heard about it in school."

Marjorie Kamys Cotera: O'Rourke/ Bob Daemmrich: Cruz

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, leads Republican incumbent Ted Cruz by 2 percentage points among likely voters, according to an Ipsos online poll released Wednesday in conjunction with Reuters and the University of Virginia. O’Rourke has been closing the gap over the last several months, but this is the first poll that puts him ahead of Cruz.

You've probably heard about the “blue wave” that’s forecast to sweep U.S. elections this November. Some expect it to flip dozens of congressional seats from red to blue, turning control of the U.S. House over to Democrats. And there’s even a slight chance that Democrats could win enough seats to take control of the U.S. Senate.

Updated at 11 p.m. ET

The Senate Judiciary Committee will move forward with a hearing scheduled for Monday on sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, despite a request for further investigation from his accuser.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera: O'Rourke/Bob Daemmrich: Cruz / Texas Tribune

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, leads his Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke by 9 percentage points among likely voters, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University.

The Texas Tribune

Editor's note: This story has been updated to add comments from U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, called Monday for "bipartisan participation" in addressing sexual assault allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh that have thrown the prospects of his pending confirmation vote into chaos.

Updated at 6:26 p.m. ET

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the woman accusing him of sexual assault more than three decades ago, Christine Blasey Ford, will both testify publicly before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 24. The committee was supposed to vote on the nomination this Thursday but faced pressure after Ford went public with her allegation over the weekend.

Ford and Kavanaugh both agreed to testify under oath before the committee.

Updated at 9:41 p.m. ET

A vote on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court was at risk of delay on Sunday as members of the Senate Judiciary Committee from both parties said allegations of sexual assault from 35 years ago may require additional review.

Credit Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune: O'Rourke / Robin Jerstad, Texas Tribune: Cruz

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his Democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke of El Paso, have agreed to three debates before Election Day.

FEMA is rolling out a new tool as it begins to deal with now-tropical storm Florence. It's a rumor-control webpage.

Unfounded rumors — what might be called "fake news" — have been a problem in coping with recent disasters, according to Gary Webb, a professor and chair of emergency management and disaster science at the University of North Texas.

"Disasters do create a great deal of uncertainty, confusion and anxiety," Webb said, "and, as a result, there is the potential for rumors to propagate."

UPDATED 6:46 p.m. ET

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh strongly pushed back on an allegation of sexual misconduct from more than 30 years ago. The allegation was made in a letter by a woman who said the incident took place in high school.

"I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time," Kavanaugh said in a statement.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

Republican lawmakers in the Texas Senate were sitting pretty last year. Now, with less than two months until Election Day, they are finding that keeping that supermajority in the Senate is no longer a sure thing.

In a troubling sign for Republicans less than two months before November's elections, Democrats' advantage on the question of which party Americans are more likely to vote for in November is ballooning, according to a new NPR/Marist poll.

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward has written about every U.S. president since Richard Nixon — nine in total. But in all his years covering politics, he has never encountered a president like President Trump.

Woodward's latest work, Fear: Trump in the White House, paints a portrait of Trump as uninformed and mercurial. The book describes moments when staff members joined together to purposefully block what they believe are the president's most dangerous impulses — sometimes by surreptitiously removing papers from the president's desk.

Just in the past few months, elections in the U.S. have been decided by hundreds of votes.

The 2016 presidential election tilted to Donald Trump with fewer than 80,000 votes across three states, with a dramatic impact on the country. Yet, only about 6 in 10 eligible voters cast ballots in 2016.

Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee wrapped up four days of hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. The committee is likely to vote on Kavanaugh in about two weeks.

And nothing in this week's often partisan-squabbling, protest-interrupted spectacle has changed the likely outcome: a party-line vote in favor of Kavanaugh's elevation to the high court.

Here's a look back at some themes, issues and events of the past four days.

1. "Women for Kavanaugh"

Not seeing the video? Click here.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

In his first major political speech in the U.S. since leaving office, former President Barack Obama argued that Americans must rebuke President Trump at the polls this November.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Friday marks the fourth and final day of confirmation hearings for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee. Brett Kavanaugh finished testimony on Thursday.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson for The Texas Tribune

CARROLLTON — Julie Johnson squinted at a map on her iPhone before walking up to the next house on her list.

“Are you registered to vote?” Johnson, a Democratic state House candidate, asked a Hispanic woman standing in her driveway one morning in August. The woman wasn’t, she responded, but her mother was.

“Well, we wanna make sure she votes in November,” Johnson said. “I’m running against Matt Rinaldi — he’s the guy who called ICE on all the protesters.”

Bob Daemmrich/BDP Inc.

*Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect a statement from the Ted Cruz campaign.

The campaign of Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, says an "impostor" was behind a text message that surfaced Wednesday asking voters to help people who are in the country illegally cast ballots.

Updated at 10:55 p.m. ET

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh weathered another long day of questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday.

He was pressed once again for his views on presidential power.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., sought a promise from Kavanaugh that he would be willing to serve as a check on the president who nominated him.

The White House slammed a newspaper essay on Wednesday attributed to an anonymous administration official that criticized President Trump and suggested that aides have discussed ways to try to remove him from office.

Trump and others blasted The New York Times after the newspaper ran what it said was a column written by someone within the president's administration who called into question his judgment and vowed to block some of his wishes.

In a highly unusual situation, the author was identified only as "a senior official in the Trump administration."

Updated at 6:34 p.m. ET

Members of Congress clashed on Wednesday with giants of the Internet world — including, in one case, a personal confrontation in the hallway.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey faced questions Wednesday afternoon from a House committee amid criticism from Republicans that Big Tech suppresses conservatives online.

Andrew Harnik / AP

After a sometimes raucous day of opening statements on Tuesday, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh faces his first round of questioning from senators on Wednesday.

Updated at 10:21 p.m. ET

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is presenting himself as an open-minded judge who is guided by the law but not indifferent to the effects of his decisions, during a marathon day of confirmation hearings.

"I don't live in a bubble," Kavanaugh told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "I base my decisions on the law, but I do so with an awareness of the facts and an awareness of the real-world consequences."

Andrew Harnik / AP

Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh started today. 

The 53-year-old federal judge is President Donald Trump’s pick to fill the spot left vacant by Justice Anthony Kennedy who retired in July.

The confirmation of a Supreme Court justice is often a major event that ripples through American law for decades. But Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, which opens Tuesday, is especially historic because, if confirmed, Kavanaugh is expected to solidify a hard-right majority on the nation's highest court, a majority the likes of which has not been seen since the early 1930s, and which is likely to dominate for a generation or more.

Updated at 5:22 p.m ET

Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh opened on a contentious note Tuesday, with Senate Democrats raising noisy objections that much of Kavanaugh's lengthy paper trail is still off limits.

The hearing proceeded despite Democrats' call for delay. Republicans, who control the Senate, hope to confirm Kavanaugh in time to join the high court when its fall term begins next month, cementing a 5-4 conservative majority.

Updated at 1:50 p.m. ET

Friends, family and former political rivals saluted the late Sen. John McCain on Saturday as a loving father, a fierce but forgiving political brawler, and a champion of American values around the world.

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