Time for the week that was in Texas politics with Texas Tribune editor-in-chief Emily Ramshaw.
Gov. Greg Abbott seemed to signal that he is expecting to face Lupe Valdez in the gubernatorial race in November – though the Democratic nominee is still undetermined.
“He’s jumping the gun just a little bit,” Ramshaw says. “Maybe he’s signaling who he’d like to be facing off against. She was way out ahead in the original primary. Abbott probably sees her as a better political foil. She’s got the immigration stance he wants to stand up against. There’s a better disparity there for him than with Andrew White.”
This week, the Texas House Freedom Caucus said they plan to take up a state law during the next legislative session involving professional licenses and student loans.
“In Texas, if you have student loan debt and you get in default on your payments your license can be taken away from you,” Ramshaw says. “The most conservative members of the legislature have actually stood up and said, ‘This is crazy. We’re going to pass legislation in the next session to rectify this.’ Which is a pretty big move for people on the far right.”
Also in this week’s headlines, Rep. Beto O’Rourke – the Democrat challenging Republican Sen. Ted Cruz for his seat – announced his campaign raised $6.7 million in the first quarter of 2018.
“Even Ted Cruz said that that’s a lot of money,” Ramshaw says. “Cruz has not yet said what he has raised in this current cycle. He’s in the $1-2 million range, which is where O’Rourke was up until this point. Cruz started with a big cash-in-hand advantage but I’m pretty sure this latest fundraising haul by Beto O’Rourke will close that gap.”
But she says it may not make a difference in the outcome of the race.
“It’s an opportunity to make sure his name ID is high across the state,” Ramshaw says. “Money is really valuable. It keeps him in the conversation, but as we know in Texas, money doesn’t buy votes.”