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Politics

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

Why Do We Elect Judges In Texas?

Oct 23, 2018

From Texas Standard:

The Texas Standard and public radio stations across the state have been working together to help you make sense of the midterms through our Texas Decides project, inviting listeners to send in their questions.

Patsy Culver, a CPA and artist in Alpine, asks:

“My question is: Texas is fairly unique in that we elect our judges. I have not found anywhere that I can find the positions of the judges that are running this year."

Updated at 5:22 p.m. ET

President Trump is campaigning hard with just two weeks to go until the midterm elections, and he is keeping the fact-checkers busy.

Never a stickler for the truth, Trump has introduced a number of fresh falsehoods during the wide-ranging monologues he has been offering to adoring crowds in packed arenas around the country.

Daxis / Flickr Creative Commons

Dallas County is a major battleground this election season, from a marquee congressional race between longtime Republican Pete Sessions and civil rights lawyer Colin Allred to a tough fight over a state Senate seat that stretches from Irving to Rowlett.

But perhaps the most overlooked races are for the Texas House: More than half of Dallas County’s 14 state House districts are seen as competitive this year.

Updated at 8:14 p.m. ET

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor says she has been diagnosed with "the beginning stages of dementia, probably Alzheimer's disease," in an open letter that was released Tuesday.

O'Connor, 88, is the first woman to serve on the high court and has remained active since retiring in 2006. She left the court to care for her husband, John, after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Now, O'Connor says, her condition is forcing her to withdraw from public life.

Texas Sees Huge Turnout On First Day Of Early Voting

Oct 23, 2018
Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

Tens of thousands of Texas voters turned out across the state to cast their ballots on Monday, the first day of early voting for the 2018 midterm elections.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

HOUSTON — President Donald Trump, speaking Monday evening here at an uproarious rally, cast his 2016 battle with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz as a thing of the past and blasted Cruz’s Democratic challenger, Beto O’Rourke, as a “stone cold phony.”

Updated at 5:15 pm ET

A memo that has reportedly been circulating at the Department of Health and Human Services aims to narrow the federal government's definition of "sex" under Title IX — a change that could leave transgender people without a number of the legal protections that have become standard in recent years.

The memo reported on by The New York Times has not been released publicly. NPR has not seen it, and HHS says it does not comment on "alleged leaked documents."

Less than a year into his first term as Texas attorney general, Republican Ken Paxton was indicted by a state grand jury on three criminal charges. The Democrat challenging his re-election, Justin Nelson, has said that's the key issue as voters go to the polls starting Monday.

Anthony Cave / KERA News

U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions and his Democratic challenger, Colin Allred, traded jabs Sunday night at a debate moderated by KERA's Sam Baker at Temple Shalom in Dallas.

Vote Common Good

Doug Pagitt doesn't think the words "conservative" and "evangelical" have to go hand in hand.

He's an evangelical Christian pastor from Minneapolis who heads an effort called Vote Common Good. Pagitt and his compadres are on a marathon bus tour across the country encouraging voters in battleground Congressional districts to elect Democrats on Nov. 6.

Rep. Beto O'Rourke Tells National Audience He'd Vote To Impeach Pres. Trump

Oct 19, 2018
Eric Gay / Associated Press

Democratic Senate hopeful Beto O'Rourke told a national television audience Thursday night that he'd vote to impeach President Donald Trump and believes Texas can lead the way to a national embracing of relaxed immigration policies and gun control — unapologetically liberal positions that may be hard for some in his deep-red state to stomach.

Vice President Mike Pence, right, stumped for Rep. Pete Sessions, left, in Dallas on October 8, 2018.
Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The race for Texas’ 32nd Congressional district is drawing a lot of national attention, and a lot of money. 

There is an old adage about conversations to avoid in "polite company." Politics and religion top that list. But given what is in these news these days, that is not really possible. So, is it possible to keep things civil while agreeing to disagree about politics?

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz's re-election campaign has not been shy about attacking his opponent, Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke, on television.

Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News/Pool

During their second — and perhaps last — U.S. Senate debate, Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, went back and forth on a number of issues Tuesday night in San Antonio, including the economy, the impact of the #MeToo movement and civility in politics. The debate got heated at times, and both candidates slung attacks at one another throughout the night. But how much of what they said was true?

A large percentage of Texas Latinos don’t know what political party to align themselves with and are cynical about the voting process, according to a new report.

The report, released today, surveyed 1,000 Latinos in Texas ages 18 to 45. It was conducted by Jolt Initiative, a group working to mobilize young Latino voters.

Obamacare — as the Affordable Care Act is commonly known — won't be on the ballot next month. But the fate of the eight-year old health care law could be decided by which party wins control of Congress in November.

"Medicare for All" — the progressive alternative to Obamacare — also stands to gain or lose ground.

And the Trump administration will be looking for a green light to keep making health care changes of its own.

Tom Reel/POOL/San Antonio Express-News

SAN ANTONIO — In the lead-up to the U.S. Senate debate here Tuesday night, Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke heard from supporters who wanted him to take a more aggressive stance toward Republican incumbent Ted Cruz.

It appears O'Rourke listened.

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.

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