News Roundup: Eight Candidates Square Off Tuesday For State Senate Seat

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines from across the state.

By Becky FogelJuly 30, 2018 3:24 pm

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and his Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke are hammering out the details for a series of debates ahead of the November election.

Cruz spoke with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram during a North Texas campaign stop over the weekend.

“We structured it the way we did – number one, I invited Congressman O’Rourke to participate in 5 debates,” Cruz said. “I think that’s the most we’ve ever seen in a Texas Senate race, and I think the voters deserve to have a clear contrast of ideas. We deliberately wanted it geographically diverse so we proposed cities across Texas, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, McAllen, Lubbock.”

But U.S. Representative O’Rourke, an El Paso Democrat, has suggested that one of the debates be held in his hometown. He’s willing to add a sixth debate to do that. Cruz’s own camp is open to adding a debate in El Paso, but want it to replace one of the five cities already in play.

As of right now, the Cruz campaign is proposing that the first debate be held on August 31st in Dallas.

Tomorrow there is a special election in Texas for a seat in the State Senate. Eight candidates are vying to replace San Antonio Democrat Carlos Uresti. He resigned last month after being convicted of 11 felonies.

Texas Senate District 19 tends to lean Democratic, but top Texas Republicans are coalescing around a GOP candidate: Pete Flores. Flores ran against and lost to Uresti in 2016 but earned 40 percent of the vote.

Governor Greg Abbott released this endorsement of the retired Texas game warden Sunday:

“Texans deserve leaders in Austin, who will lift our state to even greater heights, that’s why I’m endorsing Pete Flores for State Senate,” Abbott said.

Flores has also picked up endorsements from Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas. The other two Republicans are Jesse “Jay” Alaniz and Carlos Antonio Raymond.

When it comes to the Democratic contenders, the two highest profile candidates in the race are State Representative Roland Gutierrez and former congressman and state lawmaker, Pete Gallego. The two other Democrats running are Poteet attorney Charlie Urbina Jones and outgoing State Representative Tomas Uresti of San Antonio, the brother of Carlos Uresti.

There’s also a libertarian angling for the seat – Tony Valdivia.

State Attorney General Ken Paxton is pushing back on some members of the Texas business community who oppose the state’s lawsuit to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA.

A brief filed last week by Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, some Texas Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, as well as businesses and business associations, argued rescinding DACA would cost the state more than $6 billion in economic activity during the next decade.

Paxton appeared on WFAA’s Inside Politics Sunday:

“We’re not talking about current dreamers, we’re not talking about current DACA recipients. We’re talking about prospective — going forward. And so it’s misleading to say it’s somehow going to impact the economy,” Paxton said.

The DACA program grants work permits and protection from deportation to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, often called “Dreamers.”