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2014 Elections

CD-23: Rep. Pete Gallego Dominates Republican Opponents in 1Q 2014 Fundraising Report

by: Joseph Vogas

Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 02:00 PM CDT

Democratic Congressman Pete Gallego is in position to overwhelm his Republican opponents
Freshman Democratic Congressman Pete Gallego is showing other Democrats how to establish oneself in a district with a slight conservative lean. Candidates for federal office must file fundraising reports every three months and disclose their donors as well as how much money they have taken in and remains in their bank accounts. Because Texas had its primary in early March, federal candidates also had to file pre-primary reports in February. While the reports from most other states show the amount raised from January 1 to March 31, the reports from Texas for this quarter will show the amount raised from mid-February to March 31.

In the 47 days remaining of the first fundraising quarter of 2014, Rep. Gallego raised $273,424.56. This is the second most of any congressional candidate still running for office in Texas. Rep. Gallego raised this much money without his campaign taking on any debt.

His Republican opponents, including a former congressman, did much worse; and national prognosticators are beginning to notice they are having trouble keeping up. Click after the jump to see how much worse and what the opinion leaders in DC are saying about Rep. Gallego's chances of re-election.

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New Poll: Texans Agree with Democrats on the Issues, Democrats Must Continue to Tell our Story

by: Joseph Vogas

Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 00:00 PM CDT

Voter engagement, telling the Democratic Party's story, can make the difference this November

Public Policy Polling (PPP) released the second half of their Texas poll on Thursday afternoon. The second half of their poll included polling on several issues as well as possible 2016 Presidential match-ups, including voters opinions on Presidential runs by Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Rick Perry.

PPP took the opportunity to ask Texans what their opinions were on raising the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid, and whether men and women should be paid the same for equal work. In all of these issues polled, the respondents agreed with the positions largely adopted by Democrats and progressive minded individuals. The rub comes when realizing this is the same poll that found Greg Abbott was leading Sen. Wendy Davis in a head-to-head matchup for Governor. In the analysis of the first part of this poll, I concluded the voters were not inclined to support Democrats only because many were not familiar with the candidates. The same is true on the issues.

This poll is a reminder that Democrats represent the values that matter to working people throughout Texas, but that message has not been heard by enough voters nor has the case been made as to why candidates matter and what a good elected official can do to create positive change.

Click after the jump to see how many Texans agree with Democrats on the issues and how few Texans want Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Rick Perry to run for President as well as how they and other Republicans would fare against Hillary Clinton in Texas for the 2016 Presidential election.

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Top Ten Texas Runoffs to Watch, Part 2

by: Joseph Vogas

Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 01:00 PM CDT

On Saturday, Burnt Orange Report began the discussion of the top 10 runoffs Texas voters should watch aas Texas heads towards the May 27 runoff elections.

24 legislative and statewide runoff elections will be on the May ballot, 5 Democratic and 19 Republican. They will include 6 statewide runoffs, 3 US Congress runoffs, 2 State Senate runoffs, 11 State House runoffs, and 2 runoffs for the State Board of Education.

Click here to find out what runoffs ranked in spots 10 through 6.

Some runoffs did not crack the top 10, but are important enough to be identified as honorable mentions:
-- Agriculture Commissioner, Republican
-- Agriculture Commissioner, Democratic
-- Congressional District 23, Republican
-- Congressional District 36, Republican
-- House District 58, Republican

So, what are the runoffs taking the top 5 spots that voters need to keep a sharp eye on? Click after the jump to find out!

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Top Ten Texas Runoffs to Watch, Part 1

by: Joseph Vogas

Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 02:00 PM CDT

Most Texas primaries ended on March 4. However, in 24 statewide and legislative races, March was not the end, rather it was only the beginning.

48 candidates are still fighting on, trying to secure their party's nomination through contacting voters, raising money, and blasting members of their own party instead of their opponents for the November general election -- some of whom are likely quietly collecting cash to use against them.

Of these 24 still to-be-decided races 5 are Democratic runoffs and 19 are Republican runoffs. There are 6 statewide primaries, 3 US Congress primaries, 2 State Senate primaries, 11 State House primaries, and 2 primaries for the State Board of Education to-be-decided at this time. The Texas runoff is slated to occur on May 27 with early voting occurring from May 19 to May 23.

There are some run-offs that did not make our Top 10 list but deserve an honorable mention: Agriculture Commissioner, Republican; Agriculture Commissioner, Democratic; Congressional District 23, Republican; Congressional District 36, Republican; and House District 58, Republican.

So, which races should you be paying particular attention to as we count down towards this May's runoff election? Burnt Orange Report would be happy to be your guide.

Head below the jump for Part 1 of our look at the ten most important runoffs to watch as we head towards May 27.

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CD-23, Third Place Finisher Dr. Robert Lowry Endorses Will Hurd Over Fmr. Rep. Quico Canseco

by: Joseph Vogas

Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 11:30 AM CDT

Republicans keep giving Rep. Pete Gallego a reason to smile

Democratic Congressman Pete Gallego is one of the biggest congressional targets for Republicans across the entire country. The 23rd congressional district is a rarity in America, as it is nearly evenly split in partisanship. Under the current boundaries, Barack Obama won the seat in 2008 while Mitt Romney won it in 2012. With such a closely divided district, the results of the March 4 Republican primary could not have been better for the Democratic incumbent.

Some expected former one-term Republican Congressman Quico Canseco to run away with the nomination; however that did not happen. Rather he finished in what was almost a tie with 2010 candidate Will Hurd.

In fact, Hurd finished narrowly ahead of Canseco earning 10,378 votes for 41.0% while Canseco earned 40.3% of the vote with 10,219 votes. In 2010, when both candidates ran for the first time, they also ended up in a runoff with each other, where Hurd also lead by a narrow margin.

This year, there was also a third candidate running; Ron Paul acolyte Dr. Robert Lowry earned 18.7% of the vote with 4,736 votes this year. Dr. Lowry also ran in 2010 where he finished in third place of five candidates total earning 22.17% of the vote.

With close to a month and a half remaining until the runoff election is held, Dr. Lowry is throwing his support behind Will Hurd, encouraging the 18.7% of voters who supported him to back Hurd in the runoff over the former Congressman.

Read why Dr. Lowry is supporting Will Hurd and what Hurd had to say about the endorsement after the jump.

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Comptroller Candidate Mike Collier Goes up on TV; Points Out Glenn Hegar's Plan to Raise Taxes

by: Joseph Vogas

Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 11:30 AM CDT

Mike Collier, a CPA and the Democratic nominee for Texas Comptroller, is the first statewide candidate in Texas to release a television ad for the general election. In the ad, Senator Glenn Hegar, the Republican nominee for Texas Comptroller, can be seen clearly stating:

"I don't like the property tax, never had. I think we should replace it. The best thing to replace it with is a consumption-type tax, a sales tax per se."

Burnt Orange Report has previously reported on Sen. Hegar's plans to raise taxes on all Texans. If Sen. Hegar has his way, it is expected the Texas sales tax would have to be raised to between 20% and 25% from the current 6.25% to make up for the absence of the property tax.

It may seem like April is too early to go up on tv for a November general election, however, for a down ballot race, it may prove wise for Mr. Collier to start defining himself and Sen. Hegar now. As the election season progresses, it may prove difficult to secure the attention of both the voters and the Texas media than the more prominent and likely better funded races for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. In other states, Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska and Senate candidate Michelle Nunn of Georgia recently went on the offensive and released their own ads for the November general election to start defining themselves and their Republican opponents. This is what it is like to live in a battleground state.

Mr. Collier sourced much of his information from an article in the Dallas Morning News. Watch the ad below the jump and then read the sourced article to see where Mike Collier got his facts.

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New Poll Coming for Texas, But Only if You Vote For It

by: Joseph Vogas

Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 11:00 AM CDT

Progressive polling firm, Public Policy Polling (PPP) has its weekly readers' poll available for what state it should poll next. The choices this week are Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Texas. The state that receives the most votes will be polled over the weekend by PPP to be published in the middle of the next week. Last night, Nebraska led with 29% of the vote, while Texas was tied for second with Michigan at 18% each.

The last time PPP looked at Texas it was the first weekend of November. On the question of who should be elected Governor of Texas, PPP found Attorney General Greg Abbott led Sen. Wendy Davis by a margin of 50% - 35%. It has been over four months since this poll was taken and a lot has changed in Texas politics, including Sen. Davis' constant barrage of attacks upon Abbott. on the topic of equal pay. The most recent independent poll of Texas voters by the Texas Research Institute found Sen. Davis trailing by seven points, half of what PPP found in early November. The best way to find out if there is real momentum behind Sen. Davis would be for PPP to check again.

PPP often asks about multiple races when they go into the field. It is likely they will also ask about the races for Lieutenant Governor, US Senate, and several of the pending runoffs. They may also ask about Texan's preferences among local sports teams or preferences on hot topic social issues. But PPP will only ask about Texas if people vote for our state over the other options before this weekend.

Vote for Texas in PPP's weekly readers' poll here!

Click after the jump to review where things stood according to PPP in early November.

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Who Needs a General Election? 20 More Texas Representatives Were Re-Elected by Default Last Week

by: Joseph Vogas

Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 01:30 PM CDT

Last January, I reported on 43 members of the Texas House who, after filing, would face no opponent through all of 2014. Now, with the 2014 primaries concluded, 20 more candidates for the Texas House have secured their elections and will be voting Representatives in 2015.

In the previous article, there was some concern that gerrymandering was a cause for many legislators receiving no challenger. I reject that idea because while the major parties face challenges recruiting and paying filing fees to compete in some districts, third parties who only have to contribute a name and no filing fee, pull support evenly across the state.

Of the new group of Representatives-elect, 8 are Democrats and 12 are Republicans. This brings the Democratic caucus up to 31 members who face no further electoral challengers, or 56.36% of the caucus. 32 Republican members, 33.68% of the caucus, will also face no further challengers.

All candidates for statewide offices, US Congress, Texas Senate, and the State Board of Education will face another candidate in November's general election.

A complete list of all candidates who have filed can be seen in Burnt Orange Report's candidate trackers:

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

See the list of all the new Texas Representatives-elect who lack any further opposition after the jump.

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Nominated: Mary Gonzalez and 7 Other Incumbent House Democrats Clear Primary Challenges on March 4

by: Joseph Vogas

Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 11:30 AM CDT

Rep. Mary Gonzalez was one of eight Democrats to secure re-nomination to the Texas House last week
While twenty-two races for the Republican nomination to the Texas House concluded last week, eight Democratic nominations wrapped, as well. Only one incumbent Democrat, Craig Eiland, decided not to seek re-election and only one Democrat filed to replace him in the 2014 election. Two other incumbent Democrats lost their primaries last week. The eight other incumbents who faced primary challenges beat challengers, all by wide margins.

Highlighting the group of victors is freshman Representative Mary Gonzalez a Burnt Orange Report endorsed candidate, of El Paso County's District 75. When elected, Gonzalez was the first member of the LGBT community to be elected openly to their first term. Challenging her was Rey "Coach" Sepulveda, a former member of the Fabens school board. While Sepulveda had held elected office in the past, he ran a lean campaign; raising just over $1,000 for the entire race. Gonzalez, who was named the Mexican American Legislative Conference's Freshman of the Year, breezed to victory with 68.88%. No other candidate filed for House District 75, so Rep. Gonzalez was re-elected to a full term, by default, on March 4.

Rep. Gonzalez was not alone in beating back Democratic primary challenges. Learn more about the seven other victors after the jump.

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Nominated: Speaker Joe Straus One of Twenty-Two Republicans to Win Primaries for Texas House

by: Joseph Vogas

Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 11:30 AM CDT

Speaker Straus may be coming back to the Texas House, but so is Jonathan Stickland, and Stickland has more new friends

On primary night, twenty-two Republican primaries for the Texas House concluded with nominees selected for the November general election. Among the nominees are sixteen incumbent Representatives who beat back challengers, three Republicans who will be running for seats currently held by Democrats, and three more Republicans who are running for seats left open by retiring Republican members. Two of those last three nominees are now Representatives-elect as they face no further electoral challengers in the November general election.

Notably, Speaker Joe Straus once again beat back Matt Beebe, a conservative activist supported by conservative special interest groups who believe Straus has not governed as a true conservative. Straus went into the election with nearly a $6 million advantage and beat Beebe in the 2012 primary as well. With all that, it was no surprise when Straus won this year, as well. However, based on the size of Straus' financial advantage, it is interesting that he won with only 61.22%. Then again, if Staus had polling pointing to a win, the margin probably did not matter much to him; elected officials do not get extra powers or days in office based on the size of their win margins.

Take a look after the jump to see who will represent the Republican party in the twenty-one other contests that were decided last week.

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