Elections | KERA News

Elections

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The midterm elections 2018 are shaping up to be decisive in the direction of the nation and the state. Texans will elect a governor, a U.S. senator and an array of statewide candidates. KERA and its partners in the Texas Station Collaborative -- KUT in Austin, Houston Public Media and Houston Public Media -- will chronicle those races, and with NPR will chronicle the early rumblings of the 2020 presidential campaign. Catch up on the latest election coverage here.

Pu Ying Huang / For The Texas Tribune

HOUSTON — By the time U.S. Sen Kamala Harris, D-California, took the stage here Saturday, the message was clear.

Robert Mueller may have completed his report, but other investigations into President Trump are expected to carry on for months.

There are, broadly, two kinds: those being undertaken from within the executive branch and those being run by members of Congress — mostly Democrats in control of major committees in the House.

The Russia investigation has ended, and special counsel Robert Mueller's report is now in the hands of Attorney General William Barr. Barr sent a letter on Friday notifying Congress that the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election had concluded.

Following Justice Department regulations, Barr addressed his letter to the leaders of the House and Senate judiciary committees.

Read the text of the letter below.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's report has been a long time in the making.

Mueller was appointed in the spring of 2017 by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

Updated at 7:46 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr received a report on Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller about the findings from Mueller's investigation into the Russian attack on the 2016 presidential election.

A version of this story was first posted by member station WBUR.

From Texas Standard:

Though he hasn't made an official announcement, Texas Monthly recently reported that Joaquin Castro could soon announce plans to challenge John Cornyn for his Senate seat in 2020. If Castro runs, his own seat in Congress will be open. He represents a district that's been solidly Democratic for years, and now some are speculating about who would run to replace him. 

Gilbert Garcia, metro columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, has been pondering the musical-chairs game of sorts that a Castro Senate bid could set in motion.

Garcia says San Antonio comprises five congressional districts, and that the 20th is the one Democrats covet most.

Beto O’Rourke is running for the Democratic presidential nomination among a field of candidates that includes six women and five people of color, so far.

The White House is reflected in a puddle, Friday March 22, 2019, in Washington, as news breaks that the special counsel Robert Mueller has concluded his investigation into Russian election interference.
Associated Press

This report originally published at 4:31 p.m. Friday, March 22, 2019.

Special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday turned over his long-awaited final report on the contentious Russia investigation that has cast a dark shadow over Donald Trump's presidency, entangled Trump's family and resulted in criminal charges against some of the president's closest associates.

Democratic presidential hopefuls are betting on bold.

The majority of the Democrats running for president want to create a national health insurance program. Several want to do away with private health insurance entirely. Candidates are engaging on questions about reparations for slavery, and most of the White House hopefuls have endorsed the goal of a carbon-neutral economy within the next decade.

Increase the size of the U.S. Supreme Court? Several candidates are now on board.

Julian Castro, the former Mayor of San Antonio and the former Director of House and Urban Development announced on January 12, that he is a candidate for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination.
Robin Jerstad for The Texas Tribune

Just over two months into his bid for president, Julián Castro said Tuesday evening that he does “not at all” feel overshadowed by fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke amid the former El Paso congressman’s splashy presidential campaign rollout.

Beto O’Rourke has begun the long process of introducing himself to potential voters in Iowa.

The former congressman from El Paso, who officially announced his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday, made several stops throughout the state over the past few days. Candidates often give Iowa special attention because it's the first state in the nation to hold a presidential-nominating contest.

Former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke speaks to local residents during a meet and greet at the Beancounter Coffeehouse & Drinkery, Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Burlington, Iowa.
Associated Press

Democrats who've been competing longer than Beto O'Rourke are taking offense at the former Texas congressman's sense of entitlement.

From Texas Standard:

At 4:30 a.m. El Paso time Thursday, Beto O'Rourke confirmed, in a video with his wife at his side, that he's tossing his hat into the ring, so to speak, and running for president. O'Rourke is one of 15 Democrats who've announced their candidacy so far. 

Richard Pineda is an associate professor in the Department of Communication and director of the Sam Donaldson Center for Communication Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso. Pineda says though O'Rourke will be up against another Texan in the primaries, Julián Castro, O'Rourke is "head and shoulders above" him because of the support he generated during his 2018 Senate race.

Here Are 9 Things To Know About 2020 Presidential Candidate Beto O'Rourke

Mar 14, 2019
Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, the 2018 Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas, right, stands with his wife, Amy Sanders, at his election night party, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in El Paso, Texas. O'Rourke lost to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
Associated Press

Questions began last year about whether Beto O’Rourke, then a Democratic congressman from El Paso, would run for president. No matter that he was still in the midst of challenging Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

With former El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s announcement today, two Texas Democrats are now seeking the presidential nomination in 2020.

“It is surprising,” said longtime Democratic strategist Colin Strother. “It’s the first time, I believe, it’s happened in my lifetime.”

Sen. Kamala Harris On Reparations

Mar 14, 2019

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Updated at 2:46 p.m. ET

California Sen. Kamala Harris says she was bent toward a career fighting for civil rights almost since birth.

The Democrat is the daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father who met at the University of California, Berkeley, and were active in the movement during the 1960s.

"I was born realizing the flaws in the criminal justice system," she told NPR's Steve Inskeep.

Houston's skyline
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Democratic National Committee officials announced Monday that the party's 2020 convention would take place in Milwaukee.

Why Some Democrats Are Starting To Reclaim The Term 'Socialism'

Mar 7, 2019

From Texas Standard:

The term "socialism" seems to be an early front-runner for the top buzzword of the 2020 election season. Democrats and Republicans have been using the word a lot lately, but what does it really mean?

At the recent Conservative Political Action Conference, President Donald Trump told the crowd, "Democrat lawmakers are now embracing socialism. They want to replace individual rights with total government domination."

But Jennifer Mercieca, associate professor of communication at Texas A&M University specializing in political rhetoric, says the way Trump characterizes socialism is different than its technical definition.

Bernie Sanders filed Monday to be a candidate for the Senate in 2024 — as an independent.

But last month, Sanders filed as a Democrat for president.

It's not unusual for candidates to file with the Federal Election Commission for re-election to their current office, which allows them to begin raising money. Most candidates file shortly after Election Day, in fact.

Most of the Democrats running for president want to create a national single-payer health care system. They want to begin a massive transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. They want to legalize marijuana, pass broad family leave policies, and do a whole lot of other things that previous generations of presidential candidates have balked from fully endorsing.

Rep. Joaquin Castro 'Seriously' Considering Run Against Sen. John Cornyn

Mar 1, 2019

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro's camp released a statement early Friday morning making clear that the San Antonio Democrat is mulling whether to forgo re-election next year and instead challenge U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, two days after Beto O'Rourke made clear he won't be vying for the seat.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is joining the growing Democratic primary field, making climate change a top issue as he vies to challenge President Trump next year.

"We're the first generation to feel the sting of climate change. And we're the last who can do something about it," Inslee says in his announcement video. "We went to the moon and created technologies that have changed the world. Our country's next mission must be to rise up to the most urgent challenge of our time — defeating climate change."

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, one of half a dozen Democratic senators running for the White House, is reintroducing a bill on Thursday that would fundamentally end the federal government's prohibition on marijuana.

Beto O’Rourke says he will not run for the U.S. Senate in 2020, but signaled a possible run for president.

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