It’s time for the week that was in Texas politics, a day early, with Emily Ramshaw, editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune.
The U.S. House passed a resolution to condemn President Donald Trump’s tweets which he had directed at four Democratic congresswomen, to “go back” to the countries “from which they came.” Ramshaw says all but one Texan member of the House voted along party lines, though some Republicans spoke out against the tweets. The one Republican exception was Rep. Will Hurd of the Texas’ 23rd Congressional district, who did vote for the resolution. His district is situated along the Texas-Mexico border.
Second-quarter fundraising numbers for Democratic presidential nominees came out this week. Former El Paso Congressman, Beto O’ Rourke, raised less money than he did during the first quarter. Though it was more than what former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro raised, Castro’s coffers are growing compared to last quarter.
As a result, rumors are circulating that O’Rourke could drop out of the presidential race so he can challenge Republican John Cornyn for his Senate seat. But Ramshaw says that’s unlikely because the field of challengers is plenty crowded.
“You have to imagine that Beto O’Rourke has given his blessing to a lot of the Democrats who are running – several candidates now,” Ramshaw says. “I would be surprised if he’s given up yet. You know, presidential cycles are really up and down. And you can be down one day and back up the next in almost a heartbeat, so, think we got to wait and see there.”
Also, Democratic challengers to two Republican members of Congress managed to surpass those Republicans in fundraising dollars. Ramshaw says Preston Kulkarni outraised Rep. Pete Olson of Sugarland; Olson defeated Kulkarni to retain the seat in 2018. And former candidate for Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, Kim Olson, outraised Rep. Kenny Marchant of Coppell.
“This is only one quarter, but it’s a signal that there might be some tighter-than-usual races, particularly in suburban areas of Texas where Democrats are really gunning for their Republican opponents,” Ramshaw says.
Speaker of the Texas House, Dennis Bonnen, started a political action committee dedicated to keeping Republicans in power in the state Legislature. Ramshaw says the speaker is using $3 million from his own campaign account to help incumbent Republicans keep their seats, as changing demographics put Republicans at risk in some districts.
“I think Republicans are concerned. They’re looking at the national trends. They’re looking at a really divisive presidential battle and they’re thinking, ‘My God, we got to find a way to hang onto the House,’ “ Ramshaw says. “I still think the Republicans are going to be in pretty good shape in Texas – in the Texas House at least.”
Written by Geronimo Perez.