September 21, 2023      4:19 PM

HK: Parsing the Paxton Acquittal

There is a stench at the Capitol of a hostile takeover. The pushback is palpable at the moment, but the story is complicated and will not be resolved for another election or two

Yesterday’s ebullient tirades from returned Attorney General Ken Paxton all but announcing a primary challenge to Texas’ senior Senator John Cornyn formalized the now evident civil war inside the Texas GOP.

Dan Patrick’s anti-Dade Phelan tantrum after the “trial” kicked off an end of session non-Speaker Speaker’s race with multiple Republican House members vowing to move to vacate the chair upon convening for the upcoming special session.

And that is just the start of a new political realignment likely precipitated by senators making the choice they made.

Two attitudes seem to dominate the Capitol community today.

By Harvey Kronberg

September 20, 2023      1:20 PM

Former El Paso County Commissioner Vince Perez set to announce tomorrow for open Texas House seat, HD77

September 20, 2023      10:16 AM

Former Rep. Michelle Beckley, D-Carrollton, announces a challenge to Rep. Ben Bumgarner in HD 63

September 19, 2023      5:10 PM

Gov. Abbott promises multiple special sessions, support for primary challengers over “school choice” legislation

"There’s any easy way to get it done, and there’s a hard way. Either way, I’m in this to win this.”

Essentially acknowledging that school voucher legislation still has no chance of passing the Texas Legislature this fall, Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday said he would call a special session in October to be followed up by another. Then he said he will ultimately end up supporting primary challengers for noncompliant GOP members.

During a tele-townhall, Abbott and some faith leaders said they’d rally for “school choice” throughout the end of the year.

September 19, 2023      5:05 PM

Citing frustration over the Paxton impeachment, Rep. Steve Toth announces departure from the Texas House Freedom Caucus

Toth has also said he's joining with Lt. Gov. Patrick "in demanding that Texans know how much of their tax dollars were wasted in this sham impeachment"

September 19, 2023      4:35 PM

Texas Broadband Now launches campaign to press for Proposition 8

The efforts seeks to make “Texas Safer, Smarter, and Healthier Through Broadband Access”

A group called Texas Broadband Now on Tuesday launched its statewide campaign to support Proposition 9 on the statewide ballot in November.

"On November 7th, Texas voters have a monumental opportunity: to approve a constitutional amendment to establish a robust, long-term fund dedicated to advancing broadband and telecommunications services," said Rep. Trent Ashby, who was of course ken in passage through the Legislature.

"It's not just an investment in infrastructure, but a cornerstone for public safety and educational excellence. A vote for Prop. 8 is a vote for a stronger, more connected Texas,” Ashby said.

They’re holding a kickoff event in Corpus Christi next week. The website for the group is here.

September 19, 2023      12:45 PM

Rep. Rhetta Bowers announces candidacy for open Congressional District 32 seat

September 18, 2023      2:17 PM

Patrick formally asks the State Auditor to look into expenses incurred during impeachment proceedings

Patrick’s letter is here.

September 16, 2023      2:11 PM

Blasting back: Texas House Speaker Phelan says Patrick orchestrated the outcome of the impeachment trial from the start

"To be clear, Patrick attacked the House for standing up against corruption...The inescapable conclusion is that today’s outcome appears to have been orchestrated from the start, cheating the people of Texas of justice."

Here is the full statement from Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan:

“Over the last two weeks, the Texas House Board of Managers provided the Texas Senate and the people of Texas extensive evidence of Ken Paxton’s corruption, deception and self-dealing. It is extremely unfortunate that after hearing and evaluating this evidence, the Texas Senate chose not to remove him from office. Moreover, I find it deeply concerning that after weeks of claiming he would preside over this trial in an impartial and honest manner, Lt. Governor Patrick would conclude by confessing his bias and placing his contempt for the people’s House on full display. To be clear, Patrick attacked the House for standing up against corruption. His tirade disrespects the Constitutional impeachment process afforded to us by the founders of this great state. The inescapable conclusion is that today’s outcome appears to have been orchestrated from the start, cheating the people of Texas of justice.

“This impeachment was set in motion because Ken Paxton requested millions of taxpayer dollars to settle a lawsuit brought by conservative, senior employees who Paxton himself recruited to his office. These brave individuals were willing to sacrifice their reputations and careers to fight against the misconduct they witnessed, which included abuse of power, corruption, allegations of bribery, and allowing Nate Paul to act as the de facto Attorney General of Texas.

“The House General Investigating Committee’s subsequent investigation into the merits of the settlement produced more than enough damning evidence to warrant impeachment. The impeachment process exists not to punish the offender, but to determine whether they have abused their power so egregiously that they are unfit for office and their removal is in the best interest of the state. It is unfortunate that the outcome of this process will ultimately relinquish control of the state’s top law enforcement agency to an individual who, I believe, clearly abused his power, compromised his agency and its employees, and moved mountains to protect and benefit himself.

“The Senate’s refusal to remove Ken Paxton from office is, however, not the end of this matter. Ken Paxton is the subject of multiple other lawsuits, indictments and investigations. If new facts continue to come out, those who allowed him to keep his office will have much to answer for.

“I extend my utmost thanks to the House Board of Managers and their legal team for their diligent work on this matter, and to each of the 121 House Members who bravely acted in the best interest of this state by voting to advance the articles of impeachment. It was a difficult vote to take, but not a difficult decision. And unlike others, they chose principles over politics. I stand with them in full support of their decision and recognize the sacrifices they made in the name of doing what is right. Because of them, Texans had the ability to hear the evidence in a public trial, as the founders of this great state intended.”

September 16, 2023      1:00 PM

Paxton aquitted on all charges considered by the Senate, the Senate dismisses securities fraud charges as well

Senators Nichols and Hancock were the only GOP votes for removal

September 15, 2023      7:24 PM

Confirmed: Senators leaving the Capitol for the night with no verdict

Back at it tomorrow

September 15, 2023      12:07 PM

Senators get the case in the impeachment trial, Lt. Gov. Patrick orders them to deliberate until at least 8pm each night through the weekend

Patrick added that if there's no verdict by Sunday evening, he may order them to be sequestered in the building

September 14, 2023      5:00 PM

Updated: New poll shows Paxton is a known quantity with Texas GOP primary voters but their opinion of him is dropping amid impeachment trial

And it’s an uphill battle for third party groups supporting Paxton: Only 21 percent of GOP primary voters say information they’re seeing recently gives them a better impression of him, 36 percent said the opposite

A new poll of Texas GOP primary voters shows name ID for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is high but he’s not held in nearly as high esteem as other Republican officeholders including Gov. Greg Abbott, Sen. Ted Cruz, or former President Donald Trump. In fact, his negatives are exponentially higher in this poll.

While Paxton’s name ID among Republican primary voters is 94 percent – as compared to 99 percent for Abbott, Cruz, and Trump – these numbers indicate the AG is much more divisive within a party that is increasingly viewing him in a negative light.

How does Paxton compare to other top GOP officeholders?

By Scott Braddock

September 14, 2023      4:03 PM

Rep. Doc Anderson will not seek reelection to the Texas House

“Representing the good people of House District 56 has been the highest honor which could have been bestowed upon me...When my current term ends in January of 2025, I will have served twenty years in the Legislature. While I’m extremely proud of my record of service in the Texas House and love representing my McLennan County friends and neighbors, it’s time for a new chapter in my life and to seek new ways to serve my community, state, and nation."