Politics | KERA News

Politics

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

Anthony Cave / KERA News

Updated, 7:29 a.m.

Democrat Colin Allred has won the U.S. House District 32 seat, defeating Republican incumbent Pete Sessions in the most competitive congressional race in North Texas. 

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

John Creuzot will be the next district attorney of Dallas County. Creuzot, a Democrat, defeated incumbent Republican Faith Johnson, who'd been appointed to the job. The margin of victory was a resounding 20 percentage points.

Raymond Thompson: Escobar/Bob Daemmrich: Garcia

EL PASO — A pair of veteran Democratic Texas lawmakers made congressional history Tuesday night as the first-ever Latinas elected to represent Texas in the U.S. House.

NPR

NPR reporters will be updating this live blog with results and analysis through Tuesday night.

For more analysis, stream PBS NewsHour coverage in the video embed below, starting at 5 p.m. 

Get caught up on the latest news below. For coverage in Dallas-Fort Worth, bookmark this blog.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has won re-election in Texas, fending off a tough challenge from Democrat Beto O'Rourke.

"Texas came together behind a common-sense agenda of low taxes, low regulation and lots and lots of jobs," Cruz told supporters at an election night watch party in Houston. "[It was about] securing the border and keeping our communities safe, defending the Constitution and the Bill of Rights."

PHOTOS | Scenes From The Cruz And O'Rourke Election Night Watch Parties

Julian Aguilar / Texas Tribune

EL PASO — The press release went out Monday, the reporters showed up Tuesday morning, then the U.S. Border Patrol abruptly canceled its Election Day "crowd control exercise" without immediately stating a reason.

It's Election Day — and before you head to the polls (if you haven't already during early voting), make sure you know your rights as a voter.

Well it's finally here. Election Day 2018.

After what seemed like the longest and most anxiety-ridden midterm campaign in memory, today we are ready to choose the House and one-third of the Senate for the 116th Congress, not to mention the great majority of our governors and state legislators.

More than ready, apparently. Early voting has exploded this year in several states. Maybe every midterm electorate feels itself to be really special, but the 2018 iteration has the distinction of looking very, very large.

From Texas Standard:

From KTZZ and KUT:

Tuesday is midterm Election Day. Of course you’ve heard about the heated Texas Senate race, and some of the state’s more competitive congressional districts, the governor’s race. But there are also several statewide races on the ballot this year that aren’t getting much attention – like railroad commissioner. Current commission chairman, Republican Christi Craddick, is running for a second term against Democrat Roman McAllen and Libertarian Mike Wright.

KERA is teaming up with newsrooms across the country to track voting problems through ProPublica's Electionland project.

Ana Flores can vote for the first time this year. The 18-year-old lives in Houston with her mom. Like many young people who just got the right to vote, she was curious about what it would be like.

“I just wanted to try it out," she said, "see how it would feel for the first time.”

Gabriel C. Perez / KUT News

More than 4.8 million Texans cast their ballot in person or by mail during the early voting period.

At the end of early voting on Friday, turnout in the state's largest counties surpassed the entire turnout of the 2014 midterm election. But that doesn't mean you don't need to vote — Election Day is Tuesday.

Sessions: J. Scott Applewhite, AP; Allred: Chris Connelly, KERA News

In North Texas’ most heated congressional race, health care has become the dominant issue. Longtime Republican Rep. Pete Sessions is facing his toughest political challenge in years from Democrat and civil rights lawyer Colin Allred for his North Dallas seat. And the two candidates and their supporters are spending millions of dollars on ads to paint the other guy as a bad choice.

So where do the two stand?

Updated at 6:43 p.m. ET

President Trump delivered a White House broadside against illegal immigration Thursday, underscoring what has become his central focus in the final days of the midterm election campaign.

From Texas Standard:

This political season in Texas, yard signs have been at the center of stories that sound straight out of The Onion. There’s the couple who turned their front lawn into a giant, hand-painted Beto O’Rourke sign. Or the anti-Brett Kavanaugh sign in Hamilton that police threatened to confiscate after Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller posted about it on Facebook. Our Texas Decides series continues with a listener question you might call a sign of the times.

Campaign websites

Republican Deanna Metzger is something of a rarity this election cycle.

Democrats appear confident they'll take back the House majority next Tuesday — a fact top Republican strategists all but concede privately less than a week before Election Day.

"Up until today I would have said if the election was held today we would win. Now I'm saying we will win," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Tuesday night on CBS's The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

Months before he was arrested on allegations of mailing bombs to several prominent Democrats, Cesar Sayoc sent threatening messages over Facebook to U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, a spokesman for O'Rourke's U.S. Senate campaign confirmed Wednesday.

Updated at 8:28 p.m. ET

President Trump is back in campaign mode and immigration is a key talking point for him, even as his recent comments have exposed divisions within the Republican Party.

After a brief pause to pay respects to victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, Trump hosted a political rally in Fort Myers, Fla., on Wednesday. It's one of 11 campaign rallies the president will hold in the next six days, in a furious final sprint to next week's midterm elections.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

In past elections, Texas’ tea party groups have played a visible role, generating grassroots enthusiasm among Republicans who want less government and lower taxes. But this year, especially compared with Democratic activists, tea partyers are playing a less conspicuous role.

Not seeing the video? Click here.

When football quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in 2016, his intention was to protest racial injustice in America.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Emily Albracht for the Texas Tribune

In the minds of Texas voters — and conservative voters in particular — immigration and border security remain the top issues facing the state, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Updated at 5:35 p.m. ET

House Speaker Paul Ryan pushed back on Tuesday on President Trump's claim that he can strip birthright citizenship from the U.S. via executive order, saying such a move would be "unconstitutional."

Updated at 10:15 p.m. ET

President Trump traveled to Pittsburgh Tuesday, to pay tribute to the victims of a weekend massacre that claimed the lives of 11 worshipers at a synagogue. It also came on the same day mourners began to bury loved ones and demonstrators took to the streets to protest Trump's presence.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Elections for local prosecutors are traditionally pretty sleepy affairs, and historically, candidates have competed to show how tough they are on crime. But this year, the race to become Dallas County district attorney is bucking those trends as both candidates seek to portray themselves as changemakers working to make the criminal justice system fairer, rather than tougher.

Abby Livingston / The Texas Tribune

FORT WORTH - Long before most Texans had ever heard of Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke's bid to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Planned Parenthood organizers saw something unusual happen in the winter of 2017: Their annual Fort Worth fundraising luncheon sold out.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been charging a record number of people with committing voter fraud, an effort his critics decry as an intimidation campaign designed to discourage minority voters from casting ballots.

In 2018 alone, Paxton's office has prosecuted "33 defendants for a total of 97 election fraud violations," compared with a total of 97 prosecutions on similar charges for the 12-year period between 2005 and 2017, according to a release this month from Paxton's office.

Reports Of Voter Intimidation At Polling Places In Texas

Oct 26, 2018
David Koenig / AP

Tempers are flaring during early voting in Dallas County, and reports of voter intimidation are on the rise. The county’s nonpartisan election administrator said that the harassment — including name-calling and interrogating voters waiting in line — is the worst she’s seen in decades.

Updated at 8:55 p.m. ET

President Trump welcomed the arrest of a suspect behind a series of homemade pipe bombs Friday, just hours after he appeared to cast doubt on the threat posed by suspicious packages sent to prominent Democrats and CNN.

The mixed messages were characteristic of Trump's whiplash week, in which he toggled between calls for national unity and partisan attacks on the news media.

Robin Jerstad: Cruz/Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson: O'Rourke

More than $100 million has now been raised for the U.S. Senate race in Texas.

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