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2014 Elections

Koch Brothers Ad Against Rep. Pete Gallego Pulled from Television for Falseness

by: Joseph Vogas

Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 10:00 AM CDT

Concerned Veterans for America, a front group funded by the New York City conservative billionaire Koch brothers, took to the television sets of southwest Texas and San Antonio in an attempt to purposefully mislead on incumbent Democratic Congressman Pete Gallego's record on veterans issues. In the television ad, Concerned Veterans for America stated that Rep. Gallego "did nothing to fix" the problems in the Office of Veterans Affairs; a claim that is easily proven false.

Now, after receiving a formal complaint from the Gallego campaign, WOAI, the San Antonio NBC affiliate has agreed to take the ad off the air. 

Rep. Gallego celebrated the decision by saying: "False ads like this are why people hate politics. The discussion of how to fix our broken VA system is a serious one and veterans are too important to be used as pawns in someone's political game. It is unfortunate that Will Hurd lacked the courage to stand up to his friends and denounce an ad designed to mislead our veterans. Thankfully, these TV stations are doing the right thing and taking this deceptive ad off the air."

But the Koch brothers are not done and are continuing to try and mislead Texans on Rep. Gallego's record. Find out how they are responding after being called out for their false, misleading ad, after the jump.

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Texas Libertarian Party Officially Nominates 2014 Slate

by: Joseph Vogas

Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 05:00 PM CDT

Took them a little while, but the third party slate is complete.
We often forget there are campaigns and candidates beyond those of the major Democratic and Republican Parties. While the aforementioned decide their candidates in open primaries where candidate must file and be nominated by the general Texas electorate, third parties nominate their candidates exclusively at their conventions. The Texas Green Party announced their complete slate back in November, while the Texas Libertarian Party's slate has been more fluid over the last six months, mainly with announced candidates failing to follow through with nomination.

In December, Texas Libertarians had announced candidates in all 36 congressional districts, but  four of those candidates failed to complete their nomination. It has been a similar story for the State House where, for example, candidates who were competing for seats in the Houston area of the Texas Gulf failed to follow through with their candidacies as well.

However, since the convention at the end of May, the Texas Libertarian Party's slate has been finalized and is no longer in flux. A complete list of all of November's candidates, including the Libertarians, can be seen in Burnt Orange Report's candidate trackers:

- Statewide Offices
- US Congress
- Texas Senate
- Texas House
- State Board of Education

Take a look after the jump to see the complete list of the statewide and legislative candidates for the Texas Libertarian Party this November.

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Wendy Davis Hires State Rep. Chris Turner as New Campaign Manager

by: Joseph Vogas

Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 11:30 AM CDT

This morning, Wendy Davis' campaign for governor announced they would be changing campaign managers. Karin Johanson, the current campaign manager who started in October, will be stepping aside for sitting State Rep. Chris Turner of Arlington. No further details were given as to why Ms. Johanson is leaving, although if she helped pick Rep. Turner as her replacement, it would hint the coming transition is amicable.

Johanson has had a successful history as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Executive Director in 2006, campaign manager for then-Rep. Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin successful bid for US Senate in 2012, and was a past political director of Emily's List. The difference between these posts and the job of electing Sen. Davis to the governorship of Texas, is those elections relied, mainly, on moving Democratic base voters in order to win. Sen. Davis has won the Texas Democratic base, it is now time to win the Texas electorate at large.

Enter Chris Turner. Turner worked for Democratic Congressman Chet Edwards of Waco starting in 2002. In that time, he managed Rep. Edwards 2002, 2004, and 2006 successful re-elections, including after the mid-decade redistricting which gave Rep. Edwards not only a new district with new voters, but one which was won by President George W. Bush with over 65% of the vote. In 2008, Turner won a seat in the Texas legislature in what, at the time, was a Republican leaning seat. The Austin American Statesman speculates:

"But the ousting a nationally known progressive like Johanson in favor of Turner, who has campaigned for a moderate Democrat, could signal that Davis might want to try to appeal more to middle-of-the-road voters, rather than to Texas' progressives."

As the House Democratic Caucus Chair, Representative, and legislator, Chris Turner has been one of Texas Democrats' most loyal, vocal, and active members and he has been an unwavering defender for progressive ideals.

Chris Turner today represents House District 101 in Tarrant County, a heavily Democratic district, and will continue to run for re-election. He faces only a Libertarian opponent this November.

Read the official press release from the Davis camp and learn more about Rep. Turner after the jump.

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Two Runoffs for State Board of Education Result in Wins for Qualified, Pro-Education Candidates

by: Joseph Vogas

Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 00:00 PM CDT

Erika Beltran is the Democratic nominee for SBOE District 13

The Texas State Board of Education is often times the most important legislative body in Texas voters know nothing about. Over the last several years it has been at the center of public debates on evolution, history, science, and civics. The State Board of Education decides on the curriculum to be taught in schools and what is to be included in the text books of Texas' school children.

Luckily, in the two runoffs for the State Board of Education, one Democratic and one Republican and both located in the North Texas metroplex, the candidates most likely to support pro-science standards with positive educational backgrounds were nominated. In District 11, incumbent Republican Patricia "Pat" Hardy was re-nominated with 58.68% over her TEA Party opponent Eric Mahroum while in District 13 Erika Beltran will be the new Democratic nominee after incumbent Mavis Knight decided not to seek re-election late last year.

After the jump, learn why the nomination of these two candidates is a positive development for Texas school children.

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Texas Senate on Track to Become More Extreme and Conservative

by: Joseph Vogas

Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 02:30 PM CDT

Sometimes, a good shirt is all you need to out Texan your opponent, as done by Bob Hall
Back in March, Republican Sen. John Carona was ousted by his more extreme challenger, Don Huffines. Because no Democratic candidate filed in Senate District 16, Don Huffines is assumed to be a Senator in waiting, which would push the Senate further to the right. In Senate District 4, incumbent Tommy Williams resigned and Reps. Brandon Creighton and Steve Toth will face off in a runoff special election later this month. If Toth is elected, this will be another seat in the Senate pushed to the far right. And last month, Sen. Robert Duncan announced he would be leaving the Senate to take over as the Chancellor of Texas Tech; while the field is still to develop to replace him, the odds are good his successor will be more extreme.

With this precedent over the last year, it should come as no surprise that last Tuesday's runoff elections saw the Republican Party attempt to push the Texas Senate further to the right with their nominees. In Senate District 10, the open seat currently held by Wendy Davis, the GOP decided an extreme social-issues activist would be their best standard bearer and in Senate District 2 a 14 year incumbent was ousted by a retired TEA Party activist. Democrats did not field a candidate for Senate District 2, meaning Bob Hall is likely headed to the Senate with Don Huffines.

Read exactly what happened in Senate Districts 2 and 10 after the jump.

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John Ratcliffe Ousts 17 Term Incumbent Congressman Ralph Hall, Brian Babin and Will Hurd Also Win

by: Joseph Vogas

Fri May 30, 2014 at 03:28 PM CDT

"Out with the old and in with new" says the Republican voters of congressional district 4
On Tuesday's runoff election, three races for US Congress concluded their nominations. The most notable runoff election was in North-east Texas' Congressional District 4 where former US Attorney John Ratcliffe ousted 17 term incumbent Ralph Hall. Hall, age 91, has served in congress since 1981. He was a very conservative Democrat until 2004 when, in the wake of Tom DeLay's redistricting scheme, he switched parties and became a Republican.

Ratcliffe served as a US Attorney during the Bush administration and was mayor of Heath, in Rockwall County. Both Republicans are very conservative and sought TEA Party endorsements, Ralph Hall was not an incumbent who was being driven out for being squishy on conservative issues. Hall had the support of Ted Cruz, Ron Paul, and Michelle Bachmann while Ratcliffe was supported by The Club for Growth, The Madison Project, and had the endorsement of the Dallas Morning News.  This election became a debate on of if Rep. Hall had been in Washington too long and if he was fit enough to do his job for another two years.

No Democrat filed for the race. Ratcliffe only faces token Libertarian opposition this fall, meaning he has likely been elected at this point.

Republicans also decided who their nominees will be to face off against Democratic Rep. Pete Gallego in District 23 and to replace Steve Stockman in District 36. Learn about them after the jump.

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David Alameel Trounces Fake Democrat Kesha Rogers; Is Democratic Nominee for US Senate

by: Joseph Vogas

Thu May 29, 2014 at 04:30 PM CDT

On Tuesday night, the first statewide call we made on Burnt Orange Report was David Alameel's crushing victory over LaRouche acolyte Kesha Rogers. Alameel's victory was not even close. By a margin of 72.16% - 27.83%, Texas Democrats decided they wanted a nominee who supported the party's core values over a fringe radical.

David Alameel, who was endorsed by Sen. Wendy Davis, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, and all major Texas newspapers, will join Sens. Davis and Van de Putte at the top of the Democratic ticket and face Republican incumbent Sen. John Cornyn this November. Dr. Alameel immigrated to the US from Lebanon, became a dentist, and a successful investor in the years since. As the Democratic Party's nominee, Alameel will work to ensure a positive future for all Texans which will include working to create jobs that can not be shipped overseas, raise the minimum wage, and enforce and expand tough equal pay laws.

However, while Dr. Alameel won by a wide margin, there is room for improvement. In 34 Texas counties, Texas Democrats did not get the memo that one of the Democratic candidates for US Senate wanted to impeach President Obama and held other extreme views that did not reflect the party's core values. These kinds of results can always be fixed with better, more engaged organizing at the local level, and the first step to that correction is identifying where the problem is today. Check below the jump to make sure your home county's Democrats did not vote to impeach President Obama!

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2014 Texas Runoff Elections Liveblog

by: Joseph Vogas

Tue May 27, 2014 at 06:30 PM CDT

Welcome to Burnt Orange Report's live-blog for tonight's election results of the Texas runoff election! 24 partisan races for statewide and legislative races went to a runoff because no candidate received over 50% of the vote on March 4.

Polls across Texas will close at 7:00 p.m. local time; all of Texas will close at 7:00 CST except in El Paso, which will follow one hour later.

We will be following and tracking results for all legislative and statewide races, providing regular updates and calling races as we can. The most recent update will appear above the fold. All previous updates and a table of complete results will appear beneath the fold.

A special thanks to Joe Deshotel who is helping me plug in the latest numbers throughout the night!

Major calls: David Alameel wins for US Senate (D), Dan Patrick for Lt. Gov (R), Ken Paxton for Attorney General (R), Sid Miller for Agriculture Commissioner (R), Jim Hogan for Agriculture Commissioner (D), Ryan Sitton for Railroad Commissioner (R), John Ratcliffe for CD-4 (R), Will Hurd for CD-23 (R), Brian Babin for CD-36 (R), Bob Hall for SD-2 (R), Konni Burton for SD-10 (R).

Thank you for spending your election night with us!

Update 11:30 p.m.: Surprise, surprise. TEA Partying Bob Hall has defeated Sen. Bob Deuell by exactly 300 votes per the AP. This is close enough for a recount but it is unlikely these results will change. Hall's campaign did very little on their own, and was mostly supported by third party conservative groups.

And with that, we are now really ending things for tonight. Thank you for joining us tonight!

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Former Candidates Endorse their Former Rivals Before Tuesday's Runoff Election

by: Joseph Vogas

Fri May 23, 2014 at 10:00 AM CDT

On Tuesday, May 27 Texas will hold its primary runoff election for both Democrats and Republicans. Most primaries concluded back on March 4 but in 24 statewide and legislative races no candidate received over 50% of the vote, so runoffs were mandated to be held and those nominees remain undecided. Among the undecided races are 19 Republican nominees and 5 Democratic nominees.

With these runoffs, many of the competitors who landed in third or fourth place or worse have tried to rally their supporters to one of the remaining two candidates in the runoff to exert their own influence. This could make that candidate a kingmaker in the community, allowing that individual to be better prepared to run for another office in the future. However, of the five democratic runoffs, none of the first round candidates have chosen to exercise the option to endorse in the runoff. This non-endorsement only happened in seven of the nineteen Republican runoffs.

In the high profile Republican runoff for Lieutenant Governor, Burnt Orange Report already covered how Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson has endorsed David Dewhurst for re-election over State Senator Dan Patrick. Agriculture Commissioner and fourth place finisher Todd Staples has not offered an endorsement in the race.

After the jump, I'll run down what the former candidates have chosen to do in the 24 other runoffs. Incumbents will be mentioned if they made an endorsement.

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Burnt Orange Report Regrettably Prefers Kinky Friedman for Agriculture Commissioner

by: Burnt Orange Report

Sun May 18, 2014 at 07:00 PM CDT

In the runoff for Agriculture Commissioner, Democrats must choose between former independent candidate Kinky Friedman, unknown Jim Hogan, and not voting in the race at all.

On the balance, we reluctantly endorse a vote for Kinky Friedman as the best of these three options.

Our staff was evenly split between endorsing Kinky and offering no endorsement. Jim Hogan failed to earn a single vote, due to his stated unwillingness to campaign on the Democratic ticket and apparent problematic behavior during his few appearances in the primary.

To find out how we came to a consensus on Kinky, read more below the jump.

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