It’s time for the week that was in Texas politics with Ross Ramsey, co-founder and executive editor of The Texas Tribune.
Mask Or No Mask At The Polls?
There’s been a legal back and forth this week about whether or not masks are required to be worn at polling places in Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott had originally said that voting locations were exempt from the state’s mask mandate. But a district judge in San Antonio on Tuesday said that that exemption would disproportionately affect Black and Hispanic voters. So where does everything stand now?
“The San Antonio federal judge earlier this week said that you do have to wear a mask to vote in response to a lawsuit,” Ramsey said. “The 5th Circuit put that aside. And for now, you do not have to wear a mask to vote in Texas.”
You probably still should, though.
Texas National Guard Deployed Ahead Of Election Day
On Monday the Texas Army National Guard said that roughly 1,000 troops would be deployed to cities across the state ahead of Nov. 3. So far there have been few details about what exactly the troops will be doing, but the Guard has said it will not be conducting poll-watching operations.
“They’re saying it’s a coincidence, that it’s not tied to the election and that the National Guard troops will not be at the polls, that they’re not being disbursed for the elections, but for general, you know, just to watch crowds and things like that,” Ramsey said. “The governor’s office deferred calls to the National Guard that started over there, but they’re basically saying this is not an election watch program.”
George P. For A.G.?
As Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s legal woes continue, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush has dropped hints that he may be mulling a run for Paxton’s seat in 2022. A Bush aide told The Texas Tribune that “several donors” to the commissioner are nudging him to run.
“He was asked if he would run for attorney general and he said, basically, I’m not ruling anything out, which is the same as saying, OK, I’m dropping the hockey puck; let’s play! You’re going to see a lot of this, particularly right after this election,” Ramsey said. “We’ve got a bunch of statewide elected officials in the Republican Party who are all ambitious and are friendly, but they’re all looking up. … They’re sort of jockeying for the next rung on the ladder, and that’s 2022. I think the next election cycle starts on Wednesday.”