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Posts in "Texas"
August 29, 2014
WOODVILLE, Texas — Brian Babin, the small-town dentist poised to take over Steve Stockman’s House seat in November, may be a political unknown in Washington — but don’t try peddling that line to folks here.
Everybody in the vast, mostly rural 36th in southeast Texas, it seems, knows “Doc Babin.”
During an interview with CQ Roll Call recently at a diner in his hometown, the 66-year-old Republican was greeted with hugs and handshakes from almost everyone in the lunch crowd, including a star-struck waitress who said she’s been a fan — “He’s great!” — of the longtime local dentist since she was a little girl.
Babin, dressed casually in jeans and a checked shirt, worked the room like he was the mayor (which, of course, is one of the many posts he’s held in this community of 2,586).
“After all these years, I feel like I know every Republican in five counties — and most Democrats, too, for that matter,” Babin said, grinning.
Those connections, built up over decades — he’s also been a city councilman, a school board member, chamber of commerce director, state historical commission member and a representative on the area water authority — made him a formidable contender when Stockman announced last year he would forgo another term in the House to mount what turned out to be an ill-fated challenge to Sen. John Cornyn.
June 19, 2014
Texas Gov. Rick Perry needled GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, saying he was skeptical a “junior senator” could have made a big difference in state politics.
“Texas is pretty big; it’s pretty diverse; the legislature is a microcosm of the state, so I’m not sure one person has the ability to change all that,” Perry, a Republican, told reporters at a Thursday lunch hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
Perry, who openly acknowledges he is mulling a presidential bid in 2016, has often been on the opposite side of Cruz in local politics. In 2012, Cruz defeated Perry’s endorsed candidate, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, in a runoff for the Senate. Full story
May 27, 2014
Updated 11:42 p.m. | Rep. Ralph M. Hall, R-Texas, lost his bid for an 18th term Tuesday night, making him the first incumbent to not win re-election in 2014.
Attorney John Ratcliffe defeated Hall with 52 percent of the vote. Hall had 48 percent when the AP called the race with 66 percent of precincts reporting.
Ratcliffe is all-but-certain to hold this seat for Republicans in the fall. Full story
May 17, 2014
Rarely are Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and John A. Boehner of Ohio publicly on the same side of a GOP primary campaign. But a band of geographically and ideologically diverse Republicans are rallying behind Texas Rep. Ralph M. Hall, who is in danger of becoming the first incumbent defeated in 2014 later this month.
Hall’s political trouble initially caught many off-guard. Texas House members offered plenty of moral support in the days and weeks after Hall failed to secure the nomination in the March 4 primary. But, according to Hall’s recent fundraising reports, including his pre-runoff report filed May 15, his colleagues have backed up that talk over the past couple of months.
Nearly every Republican member of the Texas delegation, including Sen. John Cornyn, has donated to Hall’s campaign, which brought in $401,000 from April 1 to May 7, including a $100,000 loan from the candidate. Some members made multiple donations through both their campaigns and leadership PACs.
May 7, 2014
Former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe didn’t overlook that his GOP primary rival, Rep. Ralph M. Hall of Texas, had a birthday last week.
“At 91, Ralph Hall has served admirably,” Ratcliffe said in his first television ad in the runoff for the GOP nomination in Texas’ 4th District. “But after four decades in Washington, the problems are getting worse, not better.”
“It’s time for leaders to focus on the next generation, not the next election.”
March 26, 2014
Rep. Ralph M. Hall is in a Texas-sized heap of political trouble — and it’s mostly of the 90-year-old Republican’s own doing.
Over the winter, the 17-term incumbent ignored danger signs in his bid for re-election, namely that a self-funding rival was outspending him in a primary. That candidate, attorney John Ratcliffe, has forced Hall into a May 27 runoff.
March 25, 2014
Updated 10:20 a.m. | The Club for Growth and the Madison Project, two conservative groups, announced Tuesday endorsements of attorney John Ratcliffe, a Texas Republican who pushed Rep. Ralph M. Hall into a May 27 primary runoff.
“Like Senator Ted Cruz, John Ratcliffe understands that the big spenders in both parties have led us to $17 trillion in debt, and he’ll stand up for pro-growth policies in Washington,” club president Chris Chocola said in a release.
“John Ratcliffe has actually accomplished what so many conservative candidates desire by drawing one of the longest serving establishment incumbents into a competitive runoff,” said Madison Project political director Drew Ryun in a separate statement released earlier on Tuesday. Full story
March 21, 2014
Rep. Ralph M. Hall, R-Texas, is really old.
And in case northeast Texas voters don’t know that already, a GOP super PAC wants to remind them.
Now or Never PAC released an advertisement Thursday that featured disco music, a picture of President Jimmy Carter and a narrator declaring, “Now he’s 90, the oldest member in Congress ever!”
Hall is in a dogfight of a runoff against another Republican, attorney John Ratcliff, on May 27.
March 14, 2014
The Republican primary challenger to longtime Texas Rep. Ralph M. Hall says 4th District voters should not expect a Hall-length tenure from him if elected.
Just more than two months out from their primary runoff showdown, attorney John Ratcliffe said in an interview with CQ Roll Call that he not only supports a congressional term limit but would self-impose one if he wins the seat.
Ratcliffe has committed to serving only “four to five” terms in the House, a stark contrast to Hall’s career. The 90-year-old congressman, who has said this will be his last race, is finishing up his 17th term this year.
“I was mayor of a town that did not have term limits, but I term-limited myself,” Ratcliffe said. “I believe that our founders never intended for there to be a permanent political class.”
March 4, 2014
Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas won the GOP nod outright in his re-election battle, clobbering a congressman and his tea party supporters in the first primary of the midterm elections.
Cornyn had 63 percent of the vote, and Rep. Steve Stockman had 17 percent of the vote, when the Associated Press called the election for the two-term senator. The Senate’s No. 2 Republican cleared the necessary majority threshold to avoid a runoff against Stockman. Full story
The nation’s first primary election of the 2014 cycle arrives today, and Lone Star State campaigns have braced themselves for low turnout thanks to unusually frigid weather.
Or as they say in some parts of Texas, it’s colder than a tin toilet in the Yukon.
Few places are prepared to handle ice and 30-degree temperatures, which could keep voters at home. As a result, many campaigns predict early voting and early media buys will have an outsized influence on the primaries.
A candidate must receive a majority of the vote to win Tuesday’s primary outright. Otherwise, the top two candidates will advance to a May 27 runoff.
Polls close at 8 p.m. EST. Here are six things to watch as results come in: Full story
February 28, 2014
President Barack Obama endorsed freshman Texas Rep. Marc Veasey in his re-election bid on Friday.
Veasey faces a primary challenge Tuesday in Texas’ 33rd District from Tom Sanchez, a self-funding attorney from the technology sector. Most local Democrats expect Veasey to win, but Sanchez is running a spirited campaign against him in a regionally and ethnically complex district.
In a Veasey campaign release, which included a photo of the pair shaking hands, Obama touted the freshman Democrat on the very issue on which Sanchez has criticized him: immigration. Full story
February 12, 2014
Texas Rep. Ralph M. Hall, the oldest member of Congress, has promised this will be his final campaign.
He’s said it before — several times, in fact — and gone on to run again anyway. But this time, some Texas operatives think the 17-term Republican incumbent could very well be running his last race, though not by choice. Full story
January 10, 2014
Judging by his second ad, Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas is running against President Barack Obama instead of his primary challenger, Rep. Steve Stockman.
The new spot hits Obama and portrays Cornyn as the conservative counter to an “astonishingly liberal” president. The ad makes no mention of Stockman.
“He stands up to Obama, everyday. Pushes back,” the narrator says of Cornyn.
The buy size is “well into the six figures” and is a “substantial statewide buy,” according to a Cornyn aide. Full story
December 21, 2013
Rep. Ralph M. Hall, R-Texas, pledged Friday to retire after next term, assuming he wins re-election, according to The Rockwall Herald-Banner.
“I have had the privilege of serving the people of Rockwall and East Texas for some time,” he said in Rockwall, per the paper. “I look forward to campaigning for re-election the next couple of months and serving one final term in Congress.” Full story