Week in Texas Politics: Ken Paxton Heads to Church, While Ted Cruz Rallies the Faithful

This week in Texas politics: In between court appearances, Ken Paxton visits a church in central Texas; Ted Cruz rounds up endorsements; and Wendy Davis makes an endorsement of her own.

By Emily DonahueOctober 2, 2015 1:34 pm|

In many political minds, the United States is divided into segments: the liberal coasts, and a conservative Midwest and South, bound in a big Bible Belt. If you were to envision a Venn diagram of segments that overlapped, Texas would appear boldly in the midst of the conservative South and the Bible Belt.

So why, one might wonder, would it be big news that a state politician called for Christians to be more engaged in politics?

Here to review the state’s political posturing this week – Emily Ramshaw, editor of the Texas Tribune.

The voice calling for Christians to engage by standing up for religious freedom this week was Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who opposed the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage on religious grounds, his statement got a lot of traction – but was it surprising?

“What was more surprisingly was that he’s kept a relatively low-profile since being indicted on securities fraud charges,” Ramshaw says.

She says it is telling that his handful of public appearance have been in churches. After losing a series of lawyers earlier this year, Ramshaw says he has hired another lawyer but it’s unclear how he’s paying for representation –  at the Pflugerville church a reporter asked about how he’s paying and he did not answer the question.

“As with Rick Perry, these things are a long waiting game,” Ramshaw says.

Also, this week, a group of Texas lawmakers gave their support for Sen. Ted Cruz’s bid for presidency. “Those 40 legislators tend to be the sort of far-right insurgent legislators,” she says. “There were no big surprises on that list.”

Despite the rally of home-state support, polling numbers are still showing Trump ahead of Cruz in Texas and across the country, Ramshaw says.

After her endorsement of Hillary Clinton, Wendy Davis was interviewed in Rolling Stone saying she would like to run again – but the question is where.

“She’s still considered a celebrity among a particular media set,” Ramshaw says.

“The question is whether she has an opportunity in a statewide race or whether she is waiting for this fated Democratic shift in Texas that we have not seen much evidence of.”