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BOR Elections Weekly Round Up, September 12 - 22: Sen. Davis Sets a Date, Rep. Lewis Retires

by: Joseph Vogas

Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 10:00 AM CDT

Welcome to our first weekly round up of election news in the state of Texas! It has been a big week, with the launch of our candidate trackers. Burnt Orange Report is currently watching 223 of the partisan races that will appear on the November 2014 general election ballots throughout the state of Texas. Every Monday morning, this column will recap all the changes made to our elections charts and other significant elections news we covered in the previous week.

The big news last week: Sen. Wendy Davis announced October 3rd will be the date when we find out what office she will seek in 2014. Previously, Sen. Davis had said she had limited her options to Governor or re-election to the Texas Senate. In ten short days, we will finally know!

On Friday afternoon, State Rep. Tryon Lewis (R-Odessa) announced he would retire from the Texas House at the end of his current term. Rep. Lewis will have only served three terms in the Texas House and currently serves as the Chair of the House Committee on Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence. Before his election in 2008, Rep. Lewis was a State District Judge for over twenty years. This means, House District 81, where President Obama got 24.18% in 2014, will be open in next year's general election.

Click after the jump to see the 44 other changes made on the ratings charts this week, including the 23 lawmakers Burnt Orange Report confirmed are seeking re-election in 2014.

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Perry in Wonderland: A Realistic Response to the State of the State

by: Mary González

Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 02:42 PM CST

(Please welcome State Representative Mary Gonzalez, who has a guest post responding to Rick Perry's State of the State address today. - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

In today's State of the State, Governor Perry delivered to us a fantasy-land version of Texas. In this caricature, Rick Perry took us on a tour of a Texas far from the reality we live in. He painted a picture of a big, bustling land of opportunity and equality for all where everyone has a fair chance.  This Texas is on an "upward trajectory" only by the cause of its own bootstraps, standing as the shining beacon of hope and liberty for all.

But let's get back to reality.

We all know what the real Texas is like-- the Texas that continues to be overlooked. The last fourteen years has created an insular, out of touch Governor who can't look past the reports and charts on his desk to see that millions of Texans need a greater investment in education, infrastructure, and health care. The Governor's tax plan short-changes working Texas families while providing huge, unnecessary corporate tax credits. We could actually invest in our colleges and universities, our public schools, a substantial and comprehensive reproductive health program, but instead our Governor chooses to throw opportunity away.

No matter what Governor Perry may say, our neighborhood public schools need a Governor who cares if our children are learning, not what they score on a standardized test. As Texas Politifact wrote last week, education spending has dropped 20% since 2004. In 2010, 40% of Texas Hispanics did not have a high school degree. In my own House District 75, 20% over 25 have not graduated from high school.

Yet when the Governor speaks with his staff, he sees testing as a way to create accountability. When I speak with my constituents, like I did this past weekend, I hear about how high-stakes testing is ruining our public schools. The first step to stronger public schools is to restore the billions of dollars that were cut in 2011 and throw out the failed high-stakes testing schemes.

And while Governor Perry seems to throw accountability around in every education speech he writes, he doesn't seem to hold himself very accountable for the 6.3 million uninsured Texans he represents. Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the country, and Governor Perry wants to keep it that way. From the recently restored mansion, Governor Perry cannot see the 1.5 million Texans who would benefit from Medicaid expansion, effectively sending billions of Texas taxpayer dollars to states like New York and California.

Governor Perry has chosen to use his position to legislate based on ideology, not sensibility. Because of this, our communities, families, and children in this state will continue to pay the price. How are we supposed to trust our leaders when they refuse to notice there are changes that need to be made? Texas deserves not to be lied to. Myself and others are working to address the real issues and be honest with our constituents. We're working to bring change and make a better Texas happen now.

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Burnt Orange Report Endorses Mary Gonzalez in HD-75

by: Burnt Orange Report

Tue May 15, 2012 at 10:30 AM CDT

This capable leader and advocate for her community has a bright future ahead of her in public service. We enthusiastically, unanimously and emphatically endorse Mary Gonzalez for election to HD-75!

Mary Gonzalez is an inspiring candidate. She has dedicated her life and career to helping others succeed, as an educator, Hispanic community organizer, and legislative staffer. The voters of HD-75 could hardly ask for a better individual to represent them in the state house. We are confident that she will do what is in the best interest of the people in her district, while also actively working towards our progressive goals here in Texas.

Gonzalez has the experience necessary to provide exemplary constituent services for her district. She worked for State Representatives Paul Moreno and Richard Pena Raymond, and also served as Assistant Director in the Office of Research and Demonstration at the National Hispanic Institute. As National President of her Latina-based sorority Kappa Delta Chi, Gonzalez helps young Latinas engage in community service and achieve their career goals.

Gonzalez will bring so many needed perspectives to the floor. In particular, it is her perspective on education that is most sorely needed in the Legislature. With higher education in a crisis here in Texas, Gonzalez will be able to speak from her own experience as a graduate student and college instructor about the dire impacts of cuts to our public universities and resulting curtailed opportunities for education.

Gonzalez's opponent, Hector Enriquez, is not deserving of Democratic support owing to his three donations to Rick Perry, an individual who has done more to hurt the residents of HD-75 than just about any other elected official in Texas history. Three times a Perry donor is three times too much for us. This is a Democratic district, and voters should elect the candidate they can trust to advocate for their needs at the Capitol. That person is Mary Gonzalez.

Mary Gonzalez will provide needed and necessary perspectives on the floor of the State House. We enthusiastically and unanimously endorse her for election, and urge you to support her campaign!

Endorsements are made based on a weighted consensus of the staff, which guides the type and tone of endorsement. Members of the Burnt Orange Report staff employed by campaigns abstain from voting on those races.
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HD-75 Democratic Candidate Hector Enriquez Donated to Rick Perry... Three Times!

by: Katherine Haenschen

Wed May 02, 2012 at 02:16 PM CDT

Well this is disappointing: Democratic legislative candidate Hector Enriquez, one of three candidates in HD-75, donated not once, not twice, but thrice to Texans for Rick Perry. Here's the TEC data:

Our friends over at The Lion Star Blog reported on Enriquez's ties to Perry, as well as his use of a photo of himself with George W. Bush. Democrats in a Democratic primary flaunting their Republican ties? Bizarre. Even worse, Enriquez appparently sought support from Texans for Lawsuit Reform, a group that traditionally backs Republicans, as well as Democrats who support "tort reform," i.e. denying their fellow citizens a chance to gain justice in a civil court of law.

But wait, there's more! The Texas Association for Business, the ultra-conservative right wing group that was involved in Tom DeLay's money-laundering scheme, which previously endorsed Mitt Romney for President and David Dewhurst for US Senate, also endorsed Enriquez for HD-75! To his credit, at least he's trying to hide their endorsement. The bigger issue, however, is that TAB evidently finds Enriquez acceptable just as they find Romney and Dewhurst. With friends like these...

It's a strange turn of events, given the district. As Annie's List pointed out in an email yesterday, HD-75 is one of the most Democratic in Texas, and also one where Rick Perry's draconian budget has caused tremendous harm:

House District 75 is one of the most Democratic districts in Texas. President Obama received 74% of the vote in 2008 and Bill White received 69% in 2010. It is also predominantly Hispanic, lower income and one of the areas hardest hit by the shameful budget cuts supported by Perry during his term as Governor. Perry has proudly championed over $5 billion in cuts in public education alone.

These cuts are devastating El Paso public schools, causing teachers to be fired and class size limits to rise. Perry also pushed for billions more in health care cuts for women, children and seniors--all while leaving over $6 billion untouched in the Rainy Day Fund. Perry's policies are disastrous, shameful and particularly harmful to communities like El Paso. Enriquez knew this about Perry and endorsed his values with a financial contribution anyway.

Thankfully, voters in El Paso have other choices: Mary Gonzalez and Tony San Roman. Democratic voters should make sure that when they're deciding who to send to the Legislature they pick -- oh, I don't know -- an actual Democrat!  

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HD-75 & Commish Precinct 3: Shoot-outs in Old El Paso

by: LionStar

Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 01:50 PM CST

(The primary races in El Paso are running hot! Check out this guest post from Jaime Abeytia of the Lion Star Blog and get up to speed.   - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

By Jaime Abeytia

For the first time in many years, if ever, the two major local seats in El Paso's Mission Valley are taking center stage. In fact, if it wasn't for the race for the 16th Congressional District, the Mission Valley elections would be the only ones worth paying attention to in the El Paso area.

The race for State Representative for District 75 and the race for El Paso County Commissioner Precinct 3 both cover the Mission Valley area and feature crowded fields with a mix of familiar faces and political newbies.

House District 75 is currently represented by State Representative Innocente "Chente" Quintanilla, who is vacating his seat in order to run for El Paso County Commissioner in Precict 3. El Paso County Commissioner Court Precinct 3's current office-holder is Willie Gandara Jr, who is vacating his seat in order to run for House District 75.

There has been a long-time political feud between State Representative Quintanilla and County Commissioner Willie Gandara, Jr going back several years when Gardara took on Quintanilla for the State Representative seat prior to Gandara's election to the El Paso County Commissioner's Court. Early in the campaign season it appeared that Gandara and Quintanilla were going to do battle once again over a seat - this time Gandara's seat. But just prior to the first filing deadline back in December, Commissioner Gandara announced that he would be making a bid for the seat being vacated by Chente Quintanilla who had made his plans to vacate public knowledge much earlier in the election season.

Read about the candidates for HD-75 and El Paso County Commissioner Precinct 3 below the jump.

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