Senators Eddie Lucio, Jr., Leticia Van de Putte, and Wendy Davis at Charro Days in Brownsville
After months of toxic Republican rhetoric against Hispanic immigrants and portrayal of Latinos as "the bogeyman" of Texas, we'll soon shortly find out which GOP candidates clawed their way on top of the party as the primary election results roll in.
Meanwhile Republicans continue to use anti-immigrant sentiments to garner Tea Party votes, Texas Senator and Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, Leticia Van de Putte, continues to travel across Texas and Washington, D.C., recruiting Democrats and Latino voters to help turn Texas blue once again.
Kicking off her campaign's national fundraising efforts in Washington, D.C. last week, Van de Putte has also held fundraisers in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, and made a second visit to the Rio Grande Valley with Wendy Davis during the popular Charro Days in Brownsville (at right).
Spearheading Latino community outreach efforts, Van de Putte spoke at the League of United Latin American Citizens' (LULAC) gala last week, where she demonstrated the type of exemplary leadership Latino and Latina candidates can offer Texas.
"No one ever tells the people, 'Leticia has always remembered where she came from (or) Leticia remembers who she was ... because I still live in the same neighborhood,"said Van de Putte. "Latinos, they connect to their neighborhoods, connect to their schools. They connect to their famílias (families)."
Read more on what Van de Putte has to say about Latinos in Texas below the jump.
Republicans' relationship with the Latino community can be described as complicated at best, and abusive at it's core.
Along with efforts of voter suppression, Texas Republicans have a long history of portraying Latinos as "the bogeyman" of Texas, feeding into the xenophobia of many right-wing voters. The Republican Lieutenant Governor primary race has so far been the perfect embodiment of this dilemma. All four major GOP candidates have been desperate to sound the toughest on immigration, often resorting to racially divisive messages in order to pander to conservative Tea Party voters.
Even the Hispanic chairman of the Associated Republicans of Texas, Hector De Leon, believes this type of anti-immigrant rhetoric will only undermine the party's efforts to branch out to different voters, particularly Latinos.
"I understand the need to address the issue of illegal immigration, and I understand the need to secure borders, and I realize that's critically important," said De Leon. "But by the same token, that issue can be addressed by not engaging in rhetoric that sounds like thinly veiled racism."
Read more of the GOP's problem with Hispanic voters, including remarks by Senator Van de Putte, below the jump.
Texas Land Commissioner and open carry advocate Jerry Patterson was compelled to issue an official response to a conspiracy theorist he shared the stage with at a gun rally at the Alamo in late October. Alex Jones' website infowars.com claimed that the, "blue UN flag may fly above the historic shrine of liberty once it falls under UN control," and the rumor quickly made its way across the right-wing blogosphere.
Despite spectacular and erroneous reports to the contrary, the Alamo is not being turned over to the United Nations - or anyone else for that matter. - Jerry Patterson
It's unfortunate that Patterson, also a candidate for Lt. Governor, has found himself catering and answer to the conspiracy wing of his party, but it's a good example of why you should not exploit fear for politics. Patterson tried to distance himself from Jones by saying, "I'm not one of these people that thinks someone's gonna come knocking on my door and take my guns," but ultimately as Land Commissioner he was responsible for the event, and the perpetuation of the gun-grabbing govern-myth.
The Constitution gives Americans "the right to bear arms," but if you are going to walk around like a part of the militia, it also gives the government the right to ensure it is, "well-regulated."
See below the jump for what Alex Jones had to say about Jerry Patterson and why this is a bad strategy for the GOP to reach Hispanics...
Greg Abbott is afraid of alienating Hispanic voters, while Lt. Gov. hopefuls fear angering the Tea Party.
Attorney General Greb Abbott, GOP candidate for governor, is finding himself at odds with would-be No. 2s over repealing the Texas DREAM Act.
Republicans running for Texas lieutenant governor are practically tripping over themselves to oppose the 2001 law that affirms in-state college tuition rates to young undocumented immigrants living in Texas.
Abbott, increasingly weary of alienating Latinos, had been repeatedly dodging questions over the matter time and again, until his campaign finally spoke on the issue. Sort of.
In a written statement on Thursday, Abbott spokesman Matt Hirsch said Abbott believes the goal of the law is laudable but needs revamping.
"Greg Abbott believes that the objective of the program is noble," Hirsch said. "But, he believes the law as structured is flawed and it must be reformed."
All four Republican Lt. Gov. hopefuls are taking much more definitive stances. Sen. Dan Patrick spotlighted immigration over a 30-second TV ad falsely claiming he's the only GOP candidate for Lt. Gov. who's running "to oppose in-state tuition for illegal immigrants."
Read more on what challenges the Texas DREAM Act may face in the 2015 Legislative Session below the jump.
Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who is currently running in the Republican primary for Lieutenant Governor, expressed a deeply anti-American view to the Associated Press recently.
Trying to show he's the most conservative candidate in the race, Patterson told the AP that New York, California, Massachusetts and Connecticut should be expelled from the United States.
"I get lots of questions all the time, `Well, we should secede.' I say, `No, I've got a better idea. Instead of secession, I'm a proponent of expulsion,"' he said. "I want to kick about four states out of this union."
"I'm in favor of expulsion. New York, California, and there's some good people in New York and California, but their legislatures aren't representing them."
So the Americans killed in 9/11 weren't American enough for Patterson? Tens of millions of Americans should be thrown out of the country? Read more below the jump.
Thursday evening at a forum in Clear Lake, all four Republican candidates for Lieutenant Governor stated their support for a repeal of the 17th amendment, which allows for direct election of US Senators rather than election by a state's legislature.
Let that sink in: the four Republicans vying for the #2 job in the state don't think Texas voters should select their own US Senators.
What happened at the Clear Lake Tea Party forum, why is it obvious that David Dewhurst and Dan Patrick support this, and how did this become the cool new trend for Tea Party-elected outsider candidates?
On July 15, financial reports for candidates, PACs, and political parties were due to the Texas Ethics Commission. For the state of Texas, any candidate running for a state office has to report biennially, every six months, while those who are running for a federal office must report quarterly, meaning every three months. Further, incumbent state-level candidates can not raise funds while the legislature is in session; meaning fundraising reports for all statewide offices, except US Senate, only reflects funds raised for a few days out of the last six months in addition to funds left over from previous campaigns. While the reports were due on July 15, the fundraising deadline reflected in these reports was on June 30.
This roundup will only include candidates who have announced for statewide office or have publicly sent signs they will announce within the next few weeks. Many of the candidates listed had not announced publicly they were running for a statewide office before the June 30 deadline.
Click below the jump to see a complete fundraising report that shows the total cash raised and cash on hand for announced statewide candidates.
It's time for the Friday Wrap, where your Burnt Orange Reporters comment on all the news that fits in a blockquote.
It was a great week for consumers as Senator Elizabeth Warren attended her first Senate Banking Committee hearing. The gentlewoman from Massachusetts had a few questions for regulators that were long overdue. Upworthy has the video:
Senator Elizabeth Warren, y'all!
Below the jump, get caught up on Ted Cruz, Jerry Patterson, Annise Parker, Steve Munisteri, and religious fervor in Texas.
Lord have mercy. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson thinks we can prevent tragedies like today's school shooting in Connecticut if we place armed guards in schools:
"The common denominator for the school shootings in Aurora, Columbine and Virginia Tech is that we have a target-rich environment," said Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. "You have a shooter that is completely free to go about his sick fantasy. We need to do what it takes to change that."
One game changer, Patterson said, would be to arm more police officers, security guards and responsible citizens on campuses to confront a mass shooter.
"Had there been (armed security guard and citizens) in Colorado, at Virginia Tech or now in Connecticut - someone that could have changed the dynamic and to do so by having a firearm - there would be fewer lives lost."
As a state senator from 1993-99, Patterson discussed the idea of armed schools, but to date, the idea has not gained statewide traction.
Conversely we could pursue policies to prevent people from going on shooting rampages in the first place, from pragmatic gun control laws to expanded access to mental health services.
Patterson seemingly pays no mind to the Virginia Tech Review Panel Report that recommended more gun control measures including background checks, and supported banning guns on campus.
In related and horrific news, a man in China brought a knife into a school and stabbed 22 children today. Because he used a knife and not a gun, all 22 children are expected to survive.
Something to think about as our so-called leaders call for more guns in schools.
Feeling beloved today after getting a standing ovation from the Texas delegation at the RNC, David Dewhurst made a big announcement: he's running for re-election in 2014. This ends months of speculation about Dewhurst's future that was amplified when he lost what seemed to be a locked-in primary for the GOP Senate nomination.
Watch Dewhurst very close-up:
Is this an ego trip? Does Dewhurst really think he's "serving Texans" by selling out state government to massive corporations? Doesn't matter. He's running again.
And so are a bunch of other big-name Texas Republicans. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson has already said he's running whether Dewhurst is in or out. Today, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said he's still planning to run for the seat. State Comptroller Susan Combs has also said she will run in 2014.
Looks like a brawl is brewing in 2014. Dewhurst has a lot of ground to gain back after the Perry-Dewhurst machine failed epically last month to persuade Texas Republicans. If Dewhurst loses out in another primary and exits government a twice-loser, it would be a great embarrassment for him. At least he has potential company in Rick Perry, who may himself be heading for his second, and final, primary loss in 2014.