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Country’s largest wind farm planned in Texas Panhandle

The claim that everything is bigger in Texas could soon be reclaimed by the state’s wind industry.

Dallas-based Tri Global Energy announced Tuesday that it plans to build a 1,100-megawatt wind farm near Lubbock with up to 650 wind turbines. That would make it the largest wind farm in the…Continued here:

Patterson, Patrick (sort of) support government shutdown to squelch Obamacare, while rivals won’t show their hands


Hey, lieutenant governor candidates, is shutting down the federal government an acceptable tactic in the pursuit of dismantling Obamacare? As a tactical matter, do you stand with Texas’ junior senator, Ted Cruz, who’s clearly willing to risk a shutdown? Or do you stand with Gov. Rick Perry and the state’s senior senator, John Cornyn, who are not?

I put the question Wednesday to the four leading Republicans running for lieutenant governor. Boy, did that set off some squirming.

By afternoon’s end, I had these results:

AX087_2CCA_9-150x150 Jerry Patterson (2010 DMN photo). Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson says “Obamacare will cause a lot more damage than shutting down the government for a few days.” Campaign manager Chris Elam wouldn’t say, though, if Patterson unconditionally supports risking a government shutdown — perhaps even a lengthy one — if that’s what it takes to defund the Affordable Care Act. “Commissioner Patterson is not advocating for the shutdown of government,” Elam said. “If it gets shut down, it’s at the hands of Harry Reid and the Democrats.”

State Sen. Dan Patrick said through a spokesman that he favors risking a government shutdown to try to deny any funding of Obamacare. The move by Cruz comes in advance of Monday’s rollout of state health insurance marketplaces, a key feature of the federal law. Patrick spokesman Logan Spence, though, joined Elam in pre-positioning his candidate to affix partisan blame on the Democrats — a clear effort to sidestep any blowback, should a shutdown persist and be unpopular.

BX130_2368_91-150x150Dan Patrick (courtesy). “Dan agrees with the tactic if the Democrats force conservatives into that position,” Spence said. Patrick also issued a similar, don’t-blame-me statement. “I agree with members of the grassroots movement that the House should pass government funding one bill at a time, and drive home the fact that if the government shuts down, it will be because the President and Senate Democrats are willing to sacrifice jobs and the economy,” he said.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the incumbent, agrees that if a shutdown occurs, it will be the Democrats’ fault. But spokesman Travis Considine wouldn’t comment on whether Dewhurst embraces Cruz’s tactic of risking a federal government shutdown, if that’s what it takes to defund Obamacare.

Considine said any shutdown “would be the result of Democrats’ refusal” of a House continuing resolution that continues “funding America’s priorities.” Like Patterson, Dewhurst created an online petition to support Cruz’s effort. (Dewhurst said opposing Obamacare is “an issue that will define our political generation.” Patterson, a former Marine, called the effort by Cruz and a few other GOP senators “a new American dawn” and said Cruz is running toward “the sound of the gunfire,” as Marines are trained to do.)

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said in a statement that he stands “united with Senator Ted Cruz in opposition to Obamacare.” But neither he nor a spokesman would say whether Staples supports going to the brink of a government shutdown as a tactic for defunding Obamacare. As Cruz was giving his marathon speech late Tuesday, Staples sent out an email blast asking for money. It noted that Democratic group Battleground Texas had called Cruz’s action “ridiculous.” “Will you join me in fighting the liberal assault on our conservative values with a $10, $25 or $50 donation tonight?” Staples wrote.

All four GOP lieutenant governor candidates lavished praise on Cruz — even Dewhurst, whom Cruz beat in last year’s Senate race. “I commend him,” Dewhurst said. Patrick said Cruz’s move “is the same kind of bold leadership I hope to bring to the lieutenant governor’s office.” But none of the four unequivocally embraced government shutdown as a tactic, no matter how it turns out. Patterson and Patrick went to pains to assert that if the public is unhappy, it’s the Democrats’ fault, not theirs.

The shadings of the four hopefuls’ positions reflect deep divisions and…Continued here:

Wendy Davis tells Democrats she’s in


Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis and her advisers have begun informing influential Democrats that she intends to run for governor in 2014, according to multiple sources familiar with Davis’s conversations.

The Fort Worth legislator made a national name for herself in June when she mounted a filibuster against new proposed abortion clinic regulations. Texas Republicans ultimately passed those restrictions into law in a special session called by outgoing Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

Davis advisers declined to confirm that she will enter the governor’s race, but Davis consultant Hector Nieto said the senator has made up her mind about 2014 and will unveil her plans next week.

(PHOTOS: Wendy Davis’s filibuster)

“Sen. Davis has decided what she will do and she looks forward to making that announcement with her grass-roots supporters on Oct. 3,” Nieto said.

State and national Democrats have wooed Davis over the past few months for the uphill campaign against Republican state Attorney General Greg Abbott, the presumptive GOP gubernatorial nominee. She signaled in an email to supporters this month that she would state her intentions for 2014 at an event at the beginning of October.

(QUIZ: Do you know Wendy Davis?)

It would be a major shock to her closest allies if she were to reverse course before that event and opt out of the election.

Davis, 50, has trailed Abbott in early polling on the gubernatorial election, which will be…Read more:

Young Wendy Davis Supporters Are Getting Ready to Campaign for Her

By Marissa Barnett
For Reporting Texas

State Sen. Wendy Davis appears to be headed toward a run for governor, with an announcement promised for Oct. 3, but Texas’ young voters are losing no time lining up behind her anticipated bid.

“We’ve started advertising on social media to try to show that college students want Wendy,” said Garry Jones, president of Texas College Democrats and a student at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth.

“Our chapters across the state are organizing and registering voters. They’re having conversations with other students about the future of Texas,” Jones said in an interview. “There’s a lot of excitement and activity.”

Late Thursday, Politico and the Associated Press reported that Davis, a Fort Worth Democrat, has told top Democrats that she plans to run. Both said their information came from unnamed sources who were familiar with the conversations.

On the University of Texas at Dallas campus, college Democrats say they’re teamed with Battleground Texas — a group headed by former Obama campaign organizers that hopes to turn Texas blue by mobilizing Latino voters — to focus on voter registration. At UT-Austin and across town at St. Edward’s University, students are preparing to use old-fashioned shoe leather, phone banking and social media to build a “youth bump” for Davis like the one that help put President Barack Obama over the top in the 2008 presidential election.

IMG_0659-300x200Photo by Martin do Nascimento. Political observers say student activists could be a potent tool for Davis in what promises to be an uphill battle against Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott to succeed Republican Rick Perry, who has been governor since December 2000. According to the most recent Texas Ethics Commission reports, Abbot’s campaign had around $20 million at the end of June. Davis reported more than $1 million.

Campaign experts have said Davis, 50, needs to raise at least $40 million to run a credible campaign against Abbott, who is 55. The odds are long: No Democrat has won a statewide office since 1994.

Davis supporters are hoping an army of energetic, grassroots volunteers could help close the gap. “There is a youth bump,” said Mark Jones, chairman of the political science department at Rice University in Houston. “The key for Davis and Democrats is to get them to register and turn out.”

Many young voters learned of Davis in June, when she grabbed national and international headlines with her 11-hour filibuster against a restrictive abortion bill. Her efforts delayed the measure and ultimately forced the Republican-dominated Legislature into a second special session to pass the bill.

Young supporters say Davis’ flair for challenging the status quo energized the campus base. “We’ve had multiple people come up to us expressing interest in getting on the ground if Davis does announce that she’s going to run,” said John Wooding, president of the College Democrats at St. Edward’s.

“What happened this summer sparked a fire,” Wooding added, referring to Davis’ filibuster and news articles about her background as a single mom who graduated from Harvard Law School before she was elected to the Texas Senate.

IMG_0836-640x426Fundraising for on-campus activities is already underway by University Democrats. Photo by Martin do Nascimento. Enthusiasm notwithstanding, turning Texas even slightly purple will be a tall order. While 18- to 24-year-olds lean Democratic, Mark Jones says the challenge is getting them to the polls. Younger voters cast their ballots at only a third of the rate of voters older than 65.

Jones isn’t convinced Davis can win in 2014, but he sees areas where young supporters could contribute. “Young activists can make contributions … pounding the pavement, finding people who are likely Democratic voters and registering them to vote … and making sure those people you’ve identified as Democratic supporters actually turn up to vote,” he said.

In her email to supporters last week, Davis urged using Facebook and other social media sites to rally support, and that is where political observers say…Continued here:

Rick Perry Prepares to Retake the National Stage

Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he’s more than a year from deciding if he will make another run for the White House, but his top donors and advisers are about to unveil an ideal launch pad for just such an effort. Neil King reports on the News Hub. Photo: AP Originally posted here:

Should David Dewhurst challenge John Cornyn?


Interesting question. In my mind, there is no question. But that isn’t why I’m writing this.

I attended the Downtown Houston Pachyderm Club weekly luncheon today as usual. As most of you know, that is my favorite club in the Houston Metro area. I attend dozens of club meetings but this is the one club that I call home. I like it because the attendees are a broad cross section of the Harris County Republican Party. You always have attorneys and judges because of The Spaghetti Warehouse’s proximity to the various courthouses in downtown Houston. As well, you get grassroots activists such as Harris County District Clerk Chris Daniel, Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart, and their supporters. You always have candidates testing the waters. And you have bloggers, such as Bob Price of, and Yvonne Larsen and Don Hooper with BJP. And always a lot of HCRP precinct chairs like Betty Avery, Peggy Lindow, Ann Lee, etc. Tea party folks like Jim Lennon and Fred Blanton. SREC reps like Valoree Swanson and Bonnie Lugo. Insiders, outsiders, grassroots, and newbies – the perfect place to gauge Republican politics in Harris County. Plus, to be frank, the food is good and cheap – hey, I’m down with $8 for a salad, entree, and drink. Yeah, I’m a (cheap) conservative!

I’ve never witnessed anything like I witnessed today at that club. Texas Sen. John Cornyn sent a representative to the meeting, which in my memory is the first time he’s done that. I do know that he’s hired a lot of people lately, so perhaps that is why she was there. I didn’t catch her name but when she stood up to introduce herself and stated who she was shilling for, she received a chorus of boos. Never, ever would I have expected that at this club. Club President Sophia Mafrige told the crowd that the club doesn’t greet people that way and did a redo, forcing people to applaud.

I think that this incident shows the level of frustration that Republican primary voters have with the senior senator from Texas.

After the meeting was over, I was approached by Ed Vidal. Ed is what I call a “super Cruz” supporter. I didn’t know him last year but after I decided to support David Dewhurst for Senate, I kept noticing him at every meeting I attended. He would be passing out Cruz push cards or placing them on top of Dewhurst push cards that were placed on tables.

Earlier this year I decided to meet Ed. I invited him to lunch and told him that I wanted to write about Cruz and if his supporters were happy with his performance in the Senate. I never got around to writing that post. Ed was ecstatic about Cruz’s actions and loved what he was doing. Now, for those of you on the left that are reading this (I’m talking about you Scrambled Brains and others), the caricature you have of Ted Cruz supporters is wrong. Incorrect. Idiotic. Whatever adjective you choose.

Check out Ed’s Linked In. Please. I beg you. I’ll wait. And if those big words scare you, I can understand.

So when this tri-lingual international attorney approached me after the meeting and asked me to tell David Dewhurst to run against John Cornyn, what choice did I really have?

David Dewhurst should run against John Cornyn. Hey, primaries sharpen our candidates and at this stage of the political game, no one else has a chance. I think that Dewhurst would beat Cornyn, hands down, at this time in Texas politics. If someone with fewer resources would have listened to me back on January 1, 2013, perhaps they could have rounded up enough support to run. But that was then, this is now. Now it is going to take someone with significant personal financial resources to beat Cornyn at this point. The idiotic federal rules limiting contributions from any one person is an incumbent’s dream.

Look, Cornyn knows he’s vulnerable. Why do you think he’s hired so many people even though he currently has no opponent? Okay, he has a couple of guys that have zero chance of beating him as opponents but really, he has no serious opponent. He’s fielding a huge staff trying to intimidate serious potential challengers.

I don’t have any particular beef against Cornyn. He is a solid conservative, albeit thin skinned. Lord knows I’ve defended him enough that people call me a RINO. And his votes are decent enough if you look at his overall record. But he doesn’t inspire anyone and he certainly doesn’t listen to current grassroots Texans. In his heart of hearts, he supports amnesty – if you don’t believe me then talk to his closest supporters. His bad luck is that amnesty rears its ugly head in years that he is running for re-election. I think that in his heart of hearts he is against Obamacare but his ambition will not allow him to listen to his constituents. He would do Texans a much greater service by advocating for his positions, rather than trying to convince the base he is with them on these issues. Ambition seems to be his highest priority.

Dewhurst has done a lot to repair his reputation with current grassroots conservatives. He has spent a tremendous amount of time with grassroots activists this year, something he didn’t do in his race against Ted. ‘Cardboard’ Cornyn has been so absent that groups literally have to use a cardboard cutout of his likeness.

Does Dewhurst really want another term as Lt. Gov.? I don’t know the answer to that. More importantly, would Texans be better served with him at the helm of the Texas Senate or with him as a Senator in Washington, doing the will of the Republican base unlike Sen. John Cornyn? I’d submit that Dewhurst’s legacy would be better preserved by leaving state government and entering federal politics. As I did last year.

I started this post by saying that in my mind there was no question. No question at all that Dewhurst should run against Cornyn. In fact, after the…Continued here:

Global Gun Grab: Kerry Signs U.N. Arms Trade Treaty

Second Amendment: The Senate is unlikely to ratify a United Nations arms treaty signed by John Kerry, but gun control zealots will use it as justification for “common sense” infringements on our constitutional right.

The secretary of state signed the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty on Wednesday despite repeated indications that it would be dead on arrival in the U.S. Senate. One warning was a letter from Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., that said the treaty would be rejected just like “other U.N.-sponsored treaties which threaten our country’s sovereignty.”

Inhofe reminded Kerry that the pact would “collect dust alongside the Law of the Sea Treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Kyoto Protocol, to name a few, which have all been rejected by the U.S. Senate and the American people.”

Earlier this year, Inhofe introduced an amendment to a budget proposal that would prevent the U.S. from entering into the U.N. arms treaty in order to uphold the Second Amendment. His amendment passed 53-46.

So why sign a treaty that the Senate won’t ratify into law and which some argue won’t affect domestic gun rights anyway?

Because it will give the president cover to do on gun control what he does so well on other issues — ignore Congress, the Constitution and we the people so he can govern by regulation and executive order.

The treaty will also give state and local governments an argument to restrict gun rights at the local level, despite the recent electoral smack down of two anti-gun legislators in Colorado. It will, as well, provide the courts, which are increasingly prone to take foreign laws and treaties as relevant, with leverage against the Second Amendment.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance and it might be time for gun rights supporters to be vigilant. This treaty matters. Article 5 of the Arms Trade Treaty requires
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Perry, Obamacare and the Uninsured

photo by: Jeff Heimsath

A patient at The People’s Community Clinic pays her bill as the cashier’s desk. The Community Health Assistance Program, a program that helps Texans get access to insurance, will run out of federal grant money in a few weeks.


As the U.S. Census Bureau released new statistics showing Texas again ranks highest for the percentage of people without health insurance, Gov. Rick Perry quietly laid out the next moves in his ongoing effort to derail Obamacare.

“We made the decision in the state of Texas that this is how we’re going to operate our state,” Perry said on CNN’s Crossfire last week, “that we don’t count as a big success the number of people on government assistance.”

Texas has fewer people with public health coverage than the nation as a whole — 28 percent of Texans had public coverage in 2012, compared with 32.6 percent nationally, according to the Current Population Survey data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Monday. And while Texas’ uninsured rate increased to 24.6 percent from 23.8 percent in 2012 from 2011, the national rate of uninsured dropped slightly to 15.4 percent from 15.7 percent, which the census attributes to an increase in the rate of people with public coverage.

That trend is unlikely to change anytime soon in Texas since Perry has consistently opposed expanding Medicaid to cover impoverished adults, as the majority of states have chosen to do under the Affordable Care Act. Instead, Perry asserts that Texans can access health care without insurance, and Texas should not expand a “broken” Medicaid system.

But Texas also has a lower percentage of people with private coverage and employment-based coverage than the nation as a whole: 55 percent of Texans have private coverage, including 49.5 percent with employment-based coverage, while 63.9 percent of the nation’s population has private coverage, 54.9 percent of which is…Continued here:

Abbott: Legal Action Could Follow Arms Treaty Approval

  • photo illustration by: Todd Wiseman / Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Phil Roeder

Texas could be on verge of filing its 30th lawsuit against the Obama administration.

Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is running for Texas governor, reiterated on Tuesday that the state would “lead the charge” in bringing legal action against the federal government if the U.S. ratified the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty.

His comments followed Secretary of State John Kerry’s signing of the treaty, which is intended to regulate international arms sales and combat the illegal international trade of weapons. The treaty must now be ratified by the U.S. Senate.

Abbott called the signing of the Arms Trade Treaty a “tramping of constitutional liberty” that endangers an individual’s right to bear arms.

“By signing this treaty, the Obama administration has attempted to subject Americans’ right to bear arms to the oversight of the United Nations,” Abbott said in a statement. “…This treaty contradicts the underpinning philosophy of our country and establishes the precedent that the UN has some level of authority to govern our lives.”

Abbott singled out the the treaty’s inclusion of “small arms,” which he said could lead gun owners and gun store operators into a “complex web of bureaucratic red tape” imposed by the U.N. department overseeing the treaty.

“We can’t stand back and let our individual freedoms be signed away,” Abbott said. “We urge senators to vote against this dangerous precedent.”

Kerry has stressed that the treaty applies to international deals and does not restrict an individual country’s ability to regulate weapons within its boundaries.

But that hasn’t stopped Texas Republicans from sounding the alarm.

“I’d like the see the UN try to send inspectors to the Texas State Rifle Association’s annual gathering,” Texas Sen. John Cornyn said in a statement. “Secretary Kerry’s signature on the UN Arms Trade Treaty is the latest in a long line of the Obama administration’s attempts to trounce on the constitutional rights of law-abiding Texans and Americans across the country.”

Cornyn is part of a bipartisan group of at least 51 U.S. senators who pledged to oppose the Arms Trade Treaty if they believed it restricted the rights of gun owners.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has also raised concerns about the treaty; he previously tweeted that it should be “rejected outright” by the Senate, which earlier this year passed an amendment aimed at preventing the U.S. from entering into the treaty.

Abbott isn’t just attacking the treaty; he’s also hoping to capitalize on it. His campaign sent an email to supporters on Tuesday afternoon asking for contributions to help him fight for Second Amendment rights.

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

DPS to Roll Out Mobile Stations to Process Voter IDs

  • photo by: Julian Aguilar

The Texas Department of Public Safety announced on Tuesday it is offering another way for potential voters to obtain a photo ID needed to vote.

Twenty-five mobile locations will begin processing the election identification certificates on Oct. 1. The documents, which are free for applicants who meet voter requirements and show proof of identity and citizenship, are also available at driver’s license offices.

Tuesday’s announcement follows a DPS decision two weeks ago to extend the hours of about 50 driver’s license offices to include Saturday to encourage more citizens to apply for the documents.

Offering the documents is a requirement of the state’s Senate Bill 14, which mandates voters furnish a photo ID before voting. The law, passed in 2011, took effect after a U.S. Supreme Court decision earlier this year allowed its implementation.

In June, the agency began processing the voter ID certificates, which are valid for six years and can only be used for voter identification. As of Sept. 6, only eight had been issued.

In the notice, officials reiterated that most Texans already have what they need to vote: a driver’s license or state-issued ID, a passport or passcard, a military ID, a Texas concealed handgun license or naturalization or citizenship certificate with an ID.

The DPS also reminds Texans that voters with a disability can apply at their county voter registrar’s offices for an exemption from the photo ID requirement. Voters who cast a ballot by mail do not have to submit a photo ID.

In an attempt to clear up confusion, the agency announced last week that it does not check applicants for warrants when they apply for the election identification certificate.

“The statement released [Sept. 18] noting that it is routine to check for outstanding warrants during transactions at Texas Driver License Offices only applies to driver licenses and personal ID cards; it does not apply to Election Identification Certificates,” agency spokesman Tom Vinger said in an email.

The statement was in response to inquiries by media outlets and state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, who sought clarification about the policy.

The mobile stations will only process election identification certificates. A list of the locations and hours can be found here.

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at