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October 25, 2020      11:14 AM

HK: In the last Texas House majority shift, the new Speaker was determined by the day after the election

Ms. T positions herself to move quickly if the House flips

Democratic Houston State Representative Senfronia Thompson has been on multiple short lists of Speaker candidates should the Democrats take the House this cycle. But her filing Friday nonetheless startled quite a few in the political community.

It should not have.

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By Harvey Kronberg

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October 23, 2020      7:24 PM

Mrs. Thompson declares for Speaker

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October 23, 2020      12:54 PM

People on the Move

Significant career moves, appointments, staffer moves, awards, a law review and more

DALLAS – Good afternoon from a cold, rainy Metroplex, where there are way more questions than answers when it comes to early voting. As of yesterday, a full 24 percent of the votes already in the bank in Collin County were cast by people who have no voting history at all. Let that sink in as we head into the weekend.

More to come on competitive races across the state in the days ahead. The Financial Times reached out to Quorum Report for our take on what’s happening in Texas House races. The article is a really thorough piece that you can read here. And if you haven’t already, be sure to check our in-depth coverage of races in The Daily Buzz including Rep. Sarah Davis’ contest against Democratic challenger Ann Johnson in Houston and the clash between Rep. Michelle Beckley and Republican Kronda Thimesch in Denton County.

There are some significant career moves, meantime, to tell you about. You can always let us know what’s happening with you or someone else – it’s called gossip, people – by sending the scoop to ksbraddock@gmail.com. Please use POTM in the subject line.

Thanks so much.

Here’s the latest edition of People on the Move:

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By Scott Braddock

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October 22, 2020      5:30 PM

In the only blue Texas House district in Denton County, GOP challenger takes a different approach

It is a district that rejected hardline social conservatives but voted for mainstream Republicans; will that lead to a full embrace of Democrats?

Rep. Michelle Beckley, D-Carrollton, likes to say, “Denton County is Democratic.”

To the surprise of even some members of her own party, she proved in 2018 that it is at least purple when she defeated former Rep. Ron Simmons and Justice of the Peace Chris Lopez defeated incumbent Republican Gary W. Blanscet. They were just shy of victory against GOP County Commissioner Ron Marchant. He defeated Democrat Brandy Jones by less than 360 votes.

Rep. Beckley faces former Lewisville Independent School District trustee Kronda Thimesch for the eastern Denton County House District 65 – considered one of the most competitive races in North Texas.

Should Beckley win a second term, it will help answer whether Denton County really is trending Democratic and if the last election result was more than simply attributable to “Betomania.”

According to the latest campaign finance reports, Beckley and Thimesch are attracting a lot of money in what polling suggests is a tight race.

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By James Russell

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October 22, 2020      5:23 PM

North Texas business leaders begin push to expand health insurance coverage for uninsured Texans

Sen. Nathan Johnson points to business demand for expanding coverage: “It’s about the well-being of Texas citizens, about the productivity of Texas businesses, the growth of the Texas economy, and it’s about revenue and fiscal responsibility for the state of Texas.”

DALLAS – Standing alongside business leaders in the Metroplex, Sen. Nathan Johnson on Thursday rolled out a plan that he said has “no ideology” and is neither a Republican nor Democratic idea: Expanding health insurance coverage to as many Texans as possible, in part, by drawing down federal dollars under the Affordable Care Act.

“This is neither a Republican bill nor a Democratic bill; this is a Texas bill,” said Johnson, the Democrat who succeed former Sen. Don Huffines in the Texas Senate partly on the argument that Republicans needed to rescue their party from the far right. “It’s a Texas bill because it’s about the well-being of Texas citizens, about the productivity of Texas businesses, the growth of the Texas economy, and it’s about revenue and fiscal responsibility for the state of Texas.”

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By Scott Braddock

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October 22, 2020      4:42 PM

Texas Supreme Court rejects GOP suit to halt drive through voting in Harris County

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October 22, 2020      11:57 AM

Video: Gov. Abbott attacks Texas House Democratic candidates as Beto acolytes who want to turn this state into California

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October 22, 2020      11:51 AM

Video: Democrat Lorenzo Sanchez on TV blasting Chairman Leach as a Trump Republican and right wing extremist

Sanchez was accused of being an "anti-police" zealot in an ad run by Chair Leach. Sanchez now calls his GOP opponent "Lying Leach" and says he's a "Trump Republican"

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October 21, 2020      5:01 PM

Bringing their most firepower yet, Democrats look to unseat Rep. Sarah Davis while she stays positive in reelection bid

There's been a mountain of stinging mail pieces coupled with negative TV ads from challenger Ann Johnson backed up by national third-party groups; Rep. Davis has no plans to return fire in the Houston district with a legendary independent streak

WEST UNIVERSITY PLACE – After a decade in the Texas House of Representatives as a rank and file member and part of leadership under former Speaker Joe Straus, Rep. Sarah Davis faces what may be her most serious challenge yet in Democratic former prosecutor Ann Johnson. Johnson has in recent weeks, with the help of well-funded outside groups, stepped up attacks against the Republican incumbent on an issue dominating many campaigns across the state but felt even more acutely in the home of the Texas Medical Center: Health care. Specifically, protections for preexisting conditions.

With the minority party in position to potentially win a majority in the House next month, traditionally Democratic-allied organizations are all pulling in the same direction in competitive races across Texas.

But not here.

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By Scott Braddock

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October 20, 2020      5:23 PM

National Democratic super PAC boosts investment in Texas House races to $12 million, up from about $6 million

Forward Majority has been flooding swing districts with mail and TV; the group says it is dialing spending in Texas to counter GOP efforts funded largely by Sheldon Adelson

The national Democratic super PAC that’s been dropping a mountain of negative mail pieces against Texas House Republicans is doubling its spending in this state from roughly $6 million up to $12 million, per the group this morning.

Over the last month, Forward Majority has dropped at least nine negative mail pieces per district in competitive races particularly focused on suburban Texas. In places like Collin County and the Houston area, Chairman Jeff Leach, Rep. Sarah Davis, and others have been some of their top targets.

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By Scott Braddock

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October 20, 2020      2:38 PM

Lt. Gov. Patrick appoints Sen. Birdwell to Redistricting Committee

He succeeds Sen. Fallon on the committee as he heads off to Washington in January

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October 20, 2020      12:17 PM

Quorum Radio Report: Record early voting, Texas House Democrats getting big money help in campaigns

Editor Scott Braddock and KFYO radio host Chad Hasty discuss legislative races, the beginnings of a Texas House speaker's race, and more

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October 19, 2020      5:00 PM

SB: The first symptoms of a speaker race

Regardless of the election outcome, some Republicans want to figure out how to avoid a repeat of the buyer’s remorse they felt two years ago; above all, veteran members want a speaker who will defend the Texas House

The quiet mutterings about the coming speaker’s race are now rising to the level of a low hum. In the weeks to come, it’ll hit warp speed. So, let’s talk about it now, shall we?

For months, members on both sides of the aisle have either kept their powder completely dry – largely avoiding the discussion altogether – or they have been whispering amongst themselves in very specific silos.

But coming up soon, some Texas House Republicans plan to gather to discuss it. Nothing official is slated and there are no declared candidates. But members have gathered in smaller groups already and there’s a sense among some that a broader discussion of what members want to see in a speaker, whether Republican or Democratic, should be had now so the body isn’t caught off guard as many were when retiring Rep. Dennis Bonnen ascended to the chair.

A few key things to remember about how that unfolded two years ago:

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By Scott Braddock

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October 19, 2020      4:56 PM

State COVID-19 vaccine plan suggests first doses could arrive this year

Key questions remain: “We don’t know when vaccines will arrive. We don’t know which vaccines will arrive. We don’t know how much of any given vaccine will arrive,” Commissioner Hellerstedt said.

The Department of State Health Services expects to spend at least a year directly overseeing a multi-phase rollout of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, if and when one becomes widely available.

The Centers for Disease Control is requiring every state to file a vaccine distribution plan. This afternoon, Commissioner John Hellerstedt and Associate Commissioner Imelda Garcia presented a broad overview of the Texas plan to the newly reconstituted Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response, which was originally formed to address Ebola in 2014.

Vaccine allocation will be a complex and demanding task, Hellerstedt told the group, which includes both health professionals and agency heads.

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By Kimberly Reeves

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October 19, 2020      10:49 AM

Chairman Four Price will not be a candidate for speaker, he tells Quorum Report

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