Texan Candidates Make Headlines In Democratic Debate

This week in Texas politics with the Texas Tribune

By Rhonda FanningSeptember 13, 2019 4:30 pm,

It’s time for the week that was in Texas politics with Cassi Pollock, a reporter for The Texas Tribune.

The political world turned its eyes to Texas Thursday night for the third Democratic presidential debate, held at Texas Southern University in Houston. The two Texan candidates on the stage had stand-out moments during the event. Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro questioned former Vice President Joe Biden on his accountability for mistakes made during the Obama administration. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke called for a ban on assault weapons.

“Castro made a few headlines on his own,” Pollock says. “His comment about Biden seemed to be met with mixed reviews. And then of course O’Rourke’s positioning on firearms. There’s always a Texas Legislature angle. I’m sure you saw the tweet sent by State Rep. Briscoe Cain a Republican from the Houston area saying ‘my AR-15 is ready for you.’”

Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen denied allegations that he arranged a meeting with conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan on a voicemail left to another House member. Sullivan alleged that Bonnen offered Sullivan media passes for his organization in exchange for Sullivan targeting 10 Republican lawmakers.

“We’re going all the way back to July,” Pollock says. “That voicemail says pretty clearly from the Speaker ‘this is Dennis, hopefully, you know better than to believe anything Michael Quinn Sullivan would ever say’ … but the broader story here, was the fact that this happened to many members on that 10-person political target list that was allegedly given to Michael Quinn Sullivan during a June meeting with the Speaker.”

At a breakfast held by The Christian Science Monitor on Thursday morning, Sen. Ted Cruz warned the audience about the 2020 Senate race saying “if we lose Texas, it’s game over.”

“He’s basically warning that Republicans are in for the fight of their lives in 2020 in Texas,” Pollock says. “I think that Cruz is just kind of joining the latest round of alarms that have been sounded off on this subject and I see Democrats are energized.”