Time once again for the week that was in Texas politics with Alex Samuels, political reporter for the Texas Tribune.
El paso shutdown order halted – for now
Texas is dealing with another surge in COVID-19 cases, and in El Paso, the situation is particularly bad. El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego this week extended a shutdown of nonessential businesses through the end of November. But that order has been put on hold by a state appeals court.
“In late October, the El Paso county judge issued a shutdown order in an effort to slow the spread of covid,” Samuels said. “And then on Wednesday, the judge tried to extend that order. But a group of local restaurants and Attorney General Ken Paxton had been trying to block the effort since it was issued. Essentially, they were arguing that it went beyond Governor Greg Abbott, an executive order that outlines what limits can be placed on private businesses across the state. ”
That order will be paused until a final decision is reached in the legal challenge brought by those restaurants and Paxton.
Dan Patrick offers $1 million for evidence of voter fraud
Despite sweeping Republican victories in Texas and a lack of credible reports of widespread voter fraud, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is offering up $1 million of his campaign funds as a reward for evidence of voter fraud.
“[Patrick] said earlier this week that anyone who provides information that leads to a conviction will receive at least $25,000,” Samuels said. “Of course, he’s saying this despite there being no evidence of widespread voter fraud. And even in the press release announcing this incentive, Dan Patrick did not provide any evidence of mass voter fraud. But of course, this comes after some Republicans nationwide are skeptical about the unprecedented number of mail in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic, which slowed ballot counting in a handful of states.”
Texas Republican chairman takes aim at members of his own party
Some turmoil within the Texas GOP as Republican Party of Texas chair Allen West has been critical of Dade Phelan, who’s looking to be the likely pick to become the speaker of the Texas House. West has previously been critical of Gov. Greg Abbott, protesting outside the Governor’s Mansion over Abbott’s coronavirus policies.
“Phelan had announced, I believe it was a few weeks prior, that he has the votes to succeed outgoing House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and be the next speaker of the House when the Legislature convenes in January,” Samuels said. “But earlier this week, in an email to supporters, West blasted Phelan for having Democratic state representatives on the list of members who were supporting his bid.”