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Politics

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

Updated at 10:38 p.m. ET

Democrats again rejected President Trump's demand for a wall on the Southern border following an Oval Office address Tuesday night in which Trump insisted the wall is the only solution to an influx of migration from Mexico and Central America.

The Texas State Capitol on the first day of the 86th legislative session.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

A gray fog descended on Austin Tuesday morning, but the scene inside the Texas Capitol was all colorful and festive to mark the first day of the 86th biennial legislative session.

And perhaps the loudest celebration took place in the Texas House, where lawmakers whooped and hollered after the unanimous election of state Rep. Dennis Bonnen as House speaker.

President Donald Trump arrives at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston on Oct. 22, 2018. Trump is in Texas to attend a rally at the Toyota Center.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

President Donald Trump is headed to the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced the trip Monday morning, saying Trump will visit the border "to meet with those on the frontlines of the national security and humanitarian crisis."

No additional details were available, including whether Trump would visit the part of the border in Texas. But the Federal Aviation Administration has issued an alert for "VIP movement" near McAllen on Thursday.

Miguel Perez / KERA News

When the Texas Legislature gavels into session next week, Julie Johnson will make history. She'll be one of Dallas County's first two openly gay legislators — and the first state House member with a same-sex spouse.

Updated at 9:25 a.m. ET

As the federal government enters the second full week of its partial shutdown, federal workers aren't the only ones affected.

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor has a history of siding with Republicans on ideologically motivated lawsuits. His ruling last week, in which he sided with the GOP on a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, was not a one-off.

In fact, critics say, his history is ultimately why that case was before him in the first place.

Collage via Texas Tribune

A sprawling Russian disinformation campaign aimed at influencing the 2016 elections found success with social media accounts promoting the idea of Texas secession, according to a report commissioned by the U.S. Senate that was released Monday.

Former U.S. housing secretary and San Antonio mayor Julián Castro talks to reporters about his potential run for president in 2020. Castro held the press conference in his home in San Antonio on Dec. 12, 2018.
Robin Jerstad for The Texas Tribune

In case there was any mystery left, Julián Castro is running for president.

How Pop-Up Super PACs Influenced The Texas Senate Race

Dec 14, 2018

From Texas Standard:

Weeks before Election Day in November, reports indicated that the Texas Senate race would be the most expensive one in U.S. history. The last campaign-finance report showed that Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke collectively raised more than $100 million.

The images of official White House photographers have always been shared widely. What made Pete Souza's tenure with the Obama White House different was that social media — and especially Instagram, founded in 2010 — gave him a popular new platform that previous photographers in the role didn't have.

Julián Castro is taking another step toward a 2020 presidential campaign.

The former U.S. housing secretary and San Antonio mayor announced Wednesday that he has formed an exploratory committee to consider a bid and will make an announcement Jan. 12 in Texas. The committee is called Julián for the Future.

Republican U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, left, and John Cornyn
Jamelle Bouie / Marjorie Kamys Cotera

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz formally endorsed U.S. Sen. John Cornyn Friday morning, as the state's senior senator gears up for his 2020 re-election campaign.

In this Dec. 20, 1989, file photo, President George H.W. Bush addresses the nation on television from the Oval Office in Washington as he explains his decision to deploy American troops to Panama.
Barry Thumma / Associated Press

President George H.W. Bush's term in office was replete with watershed moments in international affairs that would shape American foreign policy for decades to come. 

Jason DeCrow / Associated Press

When then-President George W. Bush asked his father and President Clinton to team up on relief work, the friendship between the elder Bush and Clinton really took off, biographer Jon Meacham said.

Joanna Cattanach and state Rep. Morgan Meyer, R-Dallas.
Facebook campaign pages

Democrat Joanna Cattanach conceded Thursday afternoon to Republican state Rep. Morgan Meyer of Dallas, closing out the last recount requested by a candidate after the Nov. 6 midterm election.

Leaders of the Texas Republican Party are considering a historic vote this weekend. Their decision would ultimately provide the state party chair a salary.


Ivan Pierre Aguirre / Texas Tribune

EL PASO – Beto O'Rourke, coming off a closer-than-expected race against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is no longer ruling out a 2020 presidential run.

Texas Court Of Criminal Appeals Rules Against Prosecutors In Ken Paxton Payment Case

Nov 21, 2018
Shelby Knowles / Texas Tribune

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday potentially imperiled the long-delayed criminal prosecution of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, ruling that payments to special prosecutors were outside legal limits.

Several Texas news outlets are reporting about how volunteers are helping those experiencing food insecurity this Thanksgiving. But how much attention is focused on those who grow and harvest the food, or those who rely on food stamps? Both issues are part of the massive federal farm bill that's set to expire soon, and with Congress away for Thanksgiving, certain crop subsidies, federal nutrition assistance programs and more are in limbo.

From Texas Standard:

The New York Times recently reported that the Trump administration plans to "redefine transgender out of existence." 

The story references a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services memo that was leaked last month that proposed to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX. That's the federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally-funded educational programs.

The draft proposal would define a person's "sex" as the one assigned at birth. On this Transgender Day of Remembrance, an international observation honoring the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence, Texas Standard looks at the impact the proposed legal change could have on transgender students.

The Texas Freedom Caucus in 2017 (clockwise from back): State Reps. Jonathan Stickland, Briscoe Cain, Matt Krause, Valoree Swanson, Mike Lang, Kyle Biedermann, Matt Rinaldi, Tony Tinderholt, Jeff Leach, Bill Zedler, Matt Schaefer, Matt Shaheen
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Despite prior differences, ten of the 11 returning members of the Freedom Caucus in the Texas House have publicly backed Angleton Republican Dennis Bonnen as speaker.

Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones conceded Monday in her challenge to U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, ensuring a third term for Hurd in his perennial battleground district.

Election after election, pundits predict that Latinos will be a powerful voting bloc. And Latino voters consistently underperform those expectations by failing to turn out at the polls in big numbers.

But this year's midterm results in Nevada, Arizona and other states suggest that Latino turnout is up dramatically — a development that could reshape the electoral landscape for 2020 and beyond.

Despite frenetically campaigning, rallying and tweeting support for Republican candidates in the lead-up to the midterms, President Trump didn't take any responsibility for the GOP's losses in those elections in an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace that aired Sunday.

"I have people that won't vote unless I'm on the ballot, OK?" Trump said, later noting, "My name wasn't on the ballot."

The holiday dinner conversations are going to be intense in several high-profile Democratic households in the coming weeks, as potential candidates near decisions on whether to run for president in 2020.

Even as their staffs and political advisers have already begun scouting out office space, interviewing potential aides, and plotting out strategy for the 2020 presidential election, most haven't completely made up their minds about entering what's expected to be one of the most crowded primary contests in history.

Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

State Rep. Dennis Bonnen announced Monday that he has support from 109 members to become the next speaker of the Texas House. That number, if it holds, is more than enough votes for him to win the gavel.

screen grab from NBC

Lt. Com. Dan Crenshaw, a Texas congressman-elect who was the target of a badly received joke on Saturday Night Live last week, got a payback opportunity this week, appearing on the show to take some pokes at SNL cast member Pete Davidson.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

In the run-up to Election Day, an influential Tea Party group seemed skeptical that a blue wave would wash over the state. But after the votes were tallied, the NE Tarrant Tea Party found that some of its favored candidates had nearly been swept away.

Brandon Formby / The Texas Tribune

At the end of the 2011 legislative session, state Rep. Rafael Anchia, a Dallas Democrat, sat down to dinner with a Republican colleague from the Texas House. Anchia was exhausted and incensed.

NICK WAGNER/AMERICAN-STATESMAN via The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott and every other statewide Republican seeking re-election emerged victorious on Tuesday. Still, the election proved to be the closest statewide contest in two decades as many of the incumbents won by notably slim margins.

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