Will conservatives jump into the school finance fight?

Jan 31, 2012 By Paul Burka

I was talking to an attorney for the plaintiffs in the upcoming Supreme Court case, when he said that conservatives may intervene in the school finance lawsuit. Their contention, the attorney said, is that an efficient system could be achieved with school choice and vouchers. A school finance lobbyist told…

GOP looks to 2013 for redistricting

Jan 31, 2012 By Paul Burka

Nothing prevents the Legislature from drawing new maps. Redistricting is no different from any other bill, and it doesn’t have to be limited to the session after a census. That said, I don’t see the point of going through the exercise. So what if Republicans endorse a referendum to re-redistrict…

FLA polls show Mitt pulling away from Newt

Jan 31, 2012 By Paul Burka

From RealClearPolitics: 1/30 polls Insider Advantage: Romney 36, Gingrich 31 Public Policy Polling: Romney 39, Gingrich 32 Suffolk University: Romney 47, Gingrich 27 Quinnipiac: Romney 43, Gingrich 29 Gallup Tracking: Romney 27, Gingrich 28 1/29 polls Survey USA: Romney 41, Gingrich 26 NBC Marist: Romney 42, Gingrich 27…

Oh no! Barbecue Stalwart Wild Blue Is Closing.

Jan 28, 2012 By Patricia Sharpe

Little did I know when I wrote the following words nearly four years ago—“Please, patronize Wild Blue before it’s too late”—that my greatest fear would come true. One of the true stalwarts of Texas Barbecue–Wild Blue B.B.Q., located in the near-Brownsville city of Los Fresnos—will shut its doors…

More Proof That Austin Is Smoking Hot!

Jan 27, 2012 By Patricia Sharpe

There’s nothing like a bandwagon. No sooner did Food & Wine and Bon Appétit fall all over themselves to give Austin a whole lotta love than StarChefs.com (an online magazine for chefs and culinary insiders) decided to hold one of its four national awards ceremonies in…

The Texas newspapers’ poll

Jan 26, 2012 By Paul Burka

The results are hardly surprising. In a recent post, I raised the question of whether Perry could be reelected. I didn’t think so then, and I don’t think so now. And the talk from Ray Sullivan and the Perry team that he could run for president in 2016…

Mitt Romney’s Bill White strategy

Jan 23, 2012 By Paul Burka

A single word can turn a campaign in the wrong direction. In the case of Rick Perry, of course, that word was “oops.” In the case of Mitt Romney, the word was “maybe”: Romney’s answer to the question of whether he would release his tax returns. It came across as…

Supremes toss San Antonio district court maps

Jan 20, 2012 By Paul Burka

This solves one problem but creates a slew of others, starting with the most obvious: which maps will be used? The Legislature’s maps haven’t been pre-cleared by the D.C. court. The San Antonio district court’s maps were incinerated by the Supremes, who ordered the San Antonio judges to draw new…

CNN reports Perry will drop presidential bid today

Jan 19, 2012 By Paul Burka

The only surprise is how long it took for Perry to surrender to the inevitable. He has been a non-factor since the Iowa caucuses. During the past month, I have been working on a story about what happens when Perry returns to the Capitol. It will be posted on the…

A trip down Memory Lane

Jan 19, 2012 By Paul Burka

A new CNN/Opinion Research survey finds Rick Perry leading Mitt Romney in the GOP presidential race by double-digits, 32% to 21%, with Ron Paul at 13% and all other candidates in single digits. Most interesting is that Perry’s biggest strength may be the electability factor, with 42% saying he…

Flash! News from the Perry campaign

Jan 19, 2012 By Paul Burka

A COMMUNICATION FROM THE PERRY CAMPAIGN TO THEIR SUPPORTERS Subject: PERRY COMMITS BEYOND SOUTH CAROLINA!!!  We’re in for the long haul, folks! Perry supporters nationwide! Our ranks have grown and money is being raised from individual donors at a breakneck pace. You are ALL A MAJOR…

Pourology 101 Comes to San Antonio

Jan 18, 2012 By Patricia Sharpe

Modeled on the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, the first ever San Antonio Cocktail Conference is ginning up for next weekend, with four days of drink seminars, guided tastings, and cocktail parties. You can get a buzz just reading the program, which is amazing both in its scope and…

NM GOP assails Public Policy Polling

Jan 18, 2012 By Paul Burka

Normally I do not engage in discussions over which polling firms do good work and which do not. My policy has been to publish polls and let readers reach their own conclusions about which polls are credible and which are not. However, due to Public Policy Polling’s findings in the…

Can Perry win reelection?

Jan 17, 2012 By Paul Burka

A new poll from Public Policy Polling, a well known firm that is aligned with the Democratic party nationally, calls into question Perry’s standing with Texas Republican voters: In a PPP poll taken in September, the month in which Perry announced his candidacy for president, Perry led Romney by 49%…

Dueling fundraisers in SD 25

Jan 16, 2012 By Paul Burka

Jeff Wentworth faces a tough primary race against TLR-backed Elizabeth Ames Jones. Wentworth’s consultant, Bryan Eppstein, is circulating a comparison of their respective fundraising efforts. The summary in italics is written by Eppstein: Wentworh raises $400,000+ with 500 Co-Hosts for Jan 22nd Campaign Kickoff… Invitations…

The problem for Republicans in Texas

Jan 16, 2012 By Paul Burka

This was Kate Alexander’s main takeaway from the Senate debate. I don’t think it was any surprise that the top-heavy favorite in the race was on the defensive. If anything, as I wrote in my report on the debate on Friday, I thought Cruz missed opportunities…

Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Romney with big SC lead

Jan 15, 2012 By Paul Burka

How they stand in SC: Romney 37 Paul 16 Santorum 16 Gingrich 12 Perry 6 Huntsman 3 The attacks on Romney’s role and tactics at Bain Capital did not hurt him. They will be heard again in the general election. The only thing the attacks accomplished was to strengthen Obama…

The Empower Texans U.S. Senate debate: no clear winner

Jan 13, 2012 By Paul Burka

Tom Leppert’s pitch was that when he became the mayor of Dallas, the biggest problem was crime, and he brought it down by 31%. “I’ve been there, I’ve done it.” Good talking point, but not what is uppermost in the minds of primary voters. Craig James kept saying that he…

Does Perry secretly want Obama to win?

Jan 12, 2012 By Paul Burka

His attacks on Romney for being a “vulture capitalist” have not gone over well with other Republicans, and they cost him the support of a major backer in South Carolina: Investment fund executive and top GOP donor Barry Wynn told the Associated Press he was leaving the Perry…

The Pies Have It–This Saturday! Y’all Come!

Jan 12, 2012 By Patricia Sharpe

There are two kinds of people in America: pie people and cake people. If you’re a pie person (as I proudly count myself), consider coming to the fourth annual “Peace Through Pie” Social this Saturday, Jan. 14, from 2 to 4:30 p.m., at the  Sweet Home Missionary Baptist…

Romney’s drive to the nomination continues

Jan 11, 2012 By Paul Burka

As expected, the Republican field did not offer a lot of competition for front-runner Mitt Romney in New Hampshire. The pundits were saying anything under 40% was bad for Romney, but he was close enough, with 39.3%. He has endured a couple of bad days as a consequence of saying…

Is the State Water Plan unfunded? Yes

Jan 9, 2012 By Paul Burka

Last week the Statesman took me to task for a post I wrote after the Iowa caucus in which I said that the State Water Plan has not been funded. The article appeared under the headline, “Is the State Water Plan unfunded? No” Here is what the Statesman…

What an odd debate

Jan 8, 2012 By Paul Burka

I don’t get it. Why did Rick Perry go to South Carolina? Why did he participate in the New Hampshire debate? He had no passion, he didn’t  attack anybody, and certainly not Romney. I guess he just wants to play with the other kids. He can’t stand being left out.

Why, exactly, did Perry go to South Carolina?

Jan 6, 2012 By Paul Burka

According to a new CNN/Time/ORC poll, out today on the CNN website, Romney has a commanding lead in South Carolina: Romney 37% Santorum 19% Gingrich 18% Paul 12% Perry 5% Huntsman 1% Since the previous poll, taken in December, Gingrich has dropped 25 points. Santorum has…

Mitt Romney’s new BFF

Jan 6, 2012 By Paul Burka

That would be Rick Perry, of course. Perry cannot accomplish anything for himself in South Carolina. What he can do, and what he will do by staying in the race, is split the conservative vote between Gingrich, Santorum, and himself (Ron Paul is not a factor), and by doing so,…

“The Hill” columnist hints of Perry skullduggery in South Carolina

Jan 5, 2012 By Paul Burka

From The Hill’s “Pundits Blog” today comes this effort in unsubstantiated and unrestrained speculation about why Rick Perry decided to stay in the race and go to South Carolina, by columnist Brent Budowsky, who has never been an admirer of Rick Perry. If Rick Perry was a legitimate conservative (which…


Jan 4, 2012 By Paul Burka

What an amazing turn of events. It started out as an ordinary speech by a losing candidate. Rick Perry thanked Iowa, he thanked his supporters, he thanked his family, and he read a letter from a young man who had driven from Texas to work in the campaign, all of…

Perry running 5th in Iowa

Jan 3, 2012 By Paul Burka

Romney, Paul, and Santorum are in what amounts to a three-way tie at 23% each. Nope, Romney has nosed ahead with 24%. Perry has climbed out of single digits to reach 10%, 3 points behind Gingrich. He spent $4 million on media in Iowa. This was a doomed exercise from…

NBC News-Marist Poll on the eve of Iowa caucuses

Jan 2, 2012 By Paul Burka

Romney 23 Paul 21 Santorum 15 Perry 14 Gingrich 13 Bachmann 6 * * * * If this holds, Perry will remain in the presidential race for sure, and may even get a boost. This is a good result for him. After being shunted aside by Iowa’s evangelical power brokers…

Happy New Year

Jan 1, 2012 By Paul Burka

To our readers: Thank you for making this blog what I hoped it would become, which is an ongoing town hall meeting about Texas politics. I am very grateful for the interest and involvement of so many people. Now, back to business …. Perry may escape from Iowa with a…

Romney leads in Iowa, Paul 2nd, Santorum 3rd

Dec 31, 2011 By Paul Burka

The Des Moines Register poll covered Tuesday through Friday. The results: Romney 24% Paul 22% Santorum 15% Gingrich 12% Perry 11% Bachman 7% According to the Register:  If the final two days of polling are considered separately, Santorum rises to second place, with 21%, pushing Paul to third, at 18%.

Columnist still waiting for Perry to prove him right

Dec 31, 2011 By Paul Burka

Emmett Tyrell, a conservative columnist for the Washington Examiner, ruminates today on the success and failure of his predictions for 2012. I know that he is a conservative columnist because one of his predictions was that liberalism would be dead. He also proclaimed the death of crony capitalism. And…

Will the Texas Voter I.D. law survive?

Dec 26, 2011 By Paul Burka

I’m on record as not being a fan of the Voter I.D. bill and I agree with DOJ that it is discriminatory and not only will it prevent people from voting but in fact is intended to prevent people from voting — most of whom are poor or members of…

Daily Beast disses Maxey’s book on Perry

Dec 26, 2011 By Paul Burka

Readers may have heard that former Texas State Rep Glen Maxey has published an e-book about Rick Perry’s private life. I seldom agree with Mr. Perry about anything, but his campaign’s description of the book as “false internet garbage” seems spot on to me. The Daily Beast today has a…

Yes, Virginia, there is no Rick Perry

Dec 26, 2011 By Paul Burka

This didn’t get posted over the Christmas weekend: Perry did not qualify for the Republican primary in Virginia. It’s pretty easy to qualify.  Candidates need 10,000 signatures of registered voters on petitions, and must also have 400 signatures from each of the state’s eleven congressional districts. Every campaign needs…

Why Abbott lost in the D.C. district court, and why it matters

Dec 26, 2011 By Paul Burka

As most people who follow redistricting know by now, the D.C. district court ruled against the state and Attorney General Abbott, denying the state’s  motion for summary judgment and refusing to preclear several state maps. The D.C. Court has since issued its ruling in the case, explaining why it denied…

Governor for life?

Dec 17, 2011 By Paul Burka

The news that Rick Perry intends to pad his income by drawing a pension while serving as governor changes Texas politics. Before we learned about his double-dipping, and with his presidential bid looking bleak, it was possible to foresee the end of the Perry governorship, in January 2015.

Perry blames poor debate performance on health issues

Dec 14, 2011 By Paul Burka

From the Daily Beast: Texas Gov. Rick Perry, still looking to regain his traction after a series of mind-numbing debate performances (oh, and an awful job as governor), has let the world and Iowa know that he “wasn’t on his game” recently (make that the last four months) because…

AP critiques Perry’s latest Iowa spot

Dec 8, 2011 By Paul Burka

The Perry campaign has a huge ad blitz under way in Iowa, aimed at the state’s influential evangelical/social conservative community. The campaign has spent some $2 million, according to the Associated Press. The spot was designed to be controversial. It stretches the facts on several points, and it is very…

How the media could save Perry

Dec 7, 2011 By Paul Burka

As the ranks of Republican candidates thin with Herman Cain’s decision to suspend his campaign, the remaining serious candidates are reduced to three: Romney, Gingrich, and Perry. No, I haven’t forgotten Ron Paul. I just dismiss him as a contender. He can get his share of the votes, but he…

Can the Republicans redistrict in 2013?

Dec 6, 2011 By Paul Burka

Sure. The House can pass a bill that draws new Republican districts and does away with old Democratic districts. What lawmakers can’t do, though, is do away with minority districts. Those are protected under the Voting Rights Act. If the mapmakers do away with minority districts, they are flirting with retrogression.

A vote for RGIII

Dec 6, 2011 By Paul Burka

It will be a huge injustice if anyone other than Robert Griffin III wins the Heisman trophy. The other finalists are Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Alabama’s Trent Richardson, Wisconsin’s Montee Ball, and LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu. There is one huge difference between all of these worthy players and Griffin. Luck, Richardson,…

Perry courts Cain supporters

Dec 5, 2011 By Paul Burka

Politico’s Ben Smith noted yesterday that Rick Perry’s Facebook page appeals to Cain voters to switch their allegiance to Perry in the wake of Cain’s suspension of his presidential campaign. There is a photo of Cain and Perry, with the phrase “Both Washington Outsiders” between them.

San Antonio court files unusual supplemental order

Dec 5, 2011 By Paul Burka

This is quite remarkable. The San Antonio court that drew the redistricting maps for Congress, the state House, and state Senate issued a supplemental order that amounts to a defendant’s brief on its own behalf. With no prompting from a higher court, the district court launched into an explanation of…

Seliger calls out Michael Quinn Sullivan

Dec 5, 2011 By Paul Burka

The Amarillo state senator published an op-ed piece in the Midland Reporter-Telegram on Sunday called “Who Will Watch the Watchers,” in which he criticizes Sullivan for what he calls “fraudulent misrepresentation of voting records” by him and his “misnamed special interest group,” Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. Sullivan…

Political obit: Scott Hochberg

Dec 4, 2011 By Paul Burka

What a huge loss for the Legislature. Hochberg knew more about school finance than any other member, and yet he never used his immense store of knowledge to get the better of anyone, or to gain a partisan advantage for Democrats. He was a completely square shooter, and it is…