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September 20, 2021      5:19 PM

HK: To beat an increasingly unpopular Abbott, Beto would have to demonstrate discipline he has previously eschewed

Beto’s vulnerabilities have perhaps begun to pale as general election voters confront Abbott and Texas’ new abortion ban, permitless carry of handguns, and covid policy

OK, let’s be blunt. Young Democrats suffer the vapors over the prospect of a Beto gubernatorial run. Republicans understand that his first two forays into the big show revealed a flawed, hubris-driven candidate who arrived ill-prepared and squandered every advantage he should have enjoyed.

The cult of Beto got so out of control that he block-walked for a Democrat (anyone remember her name?) in a special election against Rep. Gary Gates in a Texas House race and is ironically credited with helping to drive up GOP turnout and widen Gates’ predictable margin of victory. It was a heavily Republican district to begin with in Fort Bend.

As soon as the former congressman tried to help the Democrat in that race, he became the story rather than the candidate.

But the substantive failure during O’Rourke’s own campaigns was that it drowned out legitimately good advice from people who had won victories for Democrats decades ago in this state. Some have argued he engineered his own defeat at the hands of Ted Cruz – some would say single-handedly – which is why Gov. Abbott’s consultant Dave Carney relishes the prospect of this contest.

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By Harvey Kronberg

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September 20, 2021      3:04 PM

Representatives Leach and Moody ask Gov. Abbott to add criminal justice reform item to special session agenda

In asking for “second look” legislation to be added, Leach and Moody say they’re ready to address concerns previously raised by Abbott in his veto message. “Since the bill is aimed at rightsizing penalties and promoting rehabilitation for people locked up since an early age, time is literally ticking away for them, day by day and year by year, as we work on these technical fixes.”

Here’s the letter to Gov. Greg Abbott from Representatives Joe Moody and Jeff Leaf.

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September 20, 2021      10:22 AM

Emboldened by proposed Texas Senate map, former Sen. Pete Flores launches comeback campaign for SD 24

“When the new redistricting lines were released on Saturday afternoon, it didn’t take long for the phone to start ringing," Flores said

Here is the announcement in full.

Flores also quickly unveiled the endorsement of Sen. Dawn Buckingham, R-Lakeway. That’s here.

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September 19, 2021      1:29 PM

Rep. Scott Sanford will not seek reelection

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September 18, 2021      4:28 PM

Proposed Texas Senate map draws out one Democrat: Sen. Powell in Fort Worth

It also changes Sen. Johnson's district to a minority opportunity district, so expect a primary challenge if this maps holds

The proposed map can be downloaded here.

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September 17, 2021      1:03 PM

People on the Move

Staffer moves, agency hires, and more

Well, it’s for real now: the Texas Legislature Online has activated the dropdown for 87(3).

Folks have been trying to maximize the relative calm this week at the building. Though, it’s worth mentioning the news cycle has been furious enough that Texas saw a hurricane move through Houston and the Coastal Bend this week and it’s already largely been forgotten as abortion, immigration, coronavirus, and more suck up all the oxygen in the room. It’s exhausting.

Meantime there are career moves to tell you about as some staff move out of the building, either to join campaigns or other ventures, and agencies make big hiring announcements. You know the drill by now. Feel free to share career news with the Texas Capitol community anytime by sending it to ksbraddock@gmail.com. If you use POTM in the subject line, it magically floats to the top of my inbox. Promise.

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

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By Scott Braddock

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September 16, 2021      8:15 AM

Rep. Matt Krause enters the crowded GOP primary for Texas Attorney General

Among other things, Krause tells DFW radio host Mark Davis that Paxton's personal legal problems are a risk that Republicans can't take in the general election: "There would be that cloud there if he's the nominee"

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September 15, 2021      5:02 PM

With some proposed maps apparently already seen by State Senators, the bitter fight over redistricting now just days away

Meantime, Dave Wasserman at Cook Political Report says “The coming fights over district lines are going to make some of the battles over voting procedures look like molehills compared to mountains in the next few months.”

Throughout this week, some state senators, we are told, have been able to privately see the proposed maps for their own Texas Senate districts. There’s much chatter now that maps could be made public as soon as this weekend, but it’s more likely they’ll be available at the start of the next special session on Monday.

And now that the Democratic walkout that upended legislative business in Austin and divided the Texas House is over, some think the redistricting fight ahead could be even more bitter.

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By Kimberly Reeves

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September 15, 2021      4:45 PM

US District Court Judge Robert Pitman in Austin sets Oct 1 hearing to consider temporarily blocking new Texas abortion law

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September 14, 2021      4:46 PM

SB: Sold as a crackdown on homelessness policy in Austin, Abbott and Paxton now use statewide camping ban to threaten all cities and counties

When HB 1925 was passed, the GOP legislators who championed it said the main goal was to correct policies in Austin. As for other major cities: "This bill actually doesn't change anything”; now Abbott tells all cities to expect “costly litigation” and the withholding of resources

The issue of homelessness in the City of Austin has become so personal for a few in the legislative community that some who would normally be champions of local control were among the most vocal supporters of a one-size-fits all statewide policy now being used to threaten all cities and counties with “costly litigation and denial of state grant funds.”

Sold to legislators and Texans during the regular session as a course correction for the City of Austin – where residents earlier this year had already voted overwhelmingly to reinstate a ban on camping in public spaces – House Bill 1925 is now swiftly being used by Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton to tell every local government in the state that they “face serious repercussions” over their policies dealing with homelessness.

All stick, no carrot, and certainly not anything that could be considered a good faith partnership to tackle a complex and heartbreaking issue that every community faces to some degree.

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By Scott Braddock

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September 14, 2021      4:41 PM

Texas Democrats reenergized after new voting rights bill introduced in Washington

CBS Austin Reporter Christian Flores has been gathering reaction to the introduction of the Freedom to Vote Act. His story is here.

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September 14, 2021      11:44 AM

Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, will seek reelection, he tells QR

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September 13, 2021      12:29 PM

Democratic plaintiffs file motion for preliminary injunction to block legislature from considering redistricting this year

Plaintiffs asking a federal court to block the Texas Legislature from drawing new maps this year on Monday filed a motion for a preliminary injunction.

The legal team, including GOP former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, argues that the Texas Constitution “clearly requires the redistricting process to start in the first regular session after the Census has been published, which means January 2023, not a special session in September.”

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By Scott Braddock

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September 13, 2021      8:10 AM

Lincoln Project launches campaign against Abbott, asking if he would support a bounty on rapists or just women who seek abortions

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