Texas Democrats Look to Single-Payer In House Races

“Democrats hoping to wrest congressional seats away from diehard repeal-and-replace Republicans are campaigning on an unlikely issue for Texas — single-payer health care,” Politico reports.

“Across the country, many Democrats are trying to minimize internal battles on health care. But Democrats in this deep red state have also watched closely races where single-payer advocates have upset centrist primary opponents. And some believe that moving left on health care will mobilize new voters in primaries —and offer a shot at winning come November.”

What Happened in the Texas Primaries

The Texas Tribune has a good rundown on the Texas primaries last night:

  • Both Land Commissioner George P. Bush (R) and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller (R) won their primary races outright.
  • While Beto O’Rourke (D) easily won the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, his share of the vote is surprisingly low given his aggressive campaigning and fundraising. Both of his lesser-known primary rivals won in multiple counties.
  • In a race that’s drawn national attention, Lizzie Pannill Fletcher (D) and Laura Moser (D) are headed for a runoff in their bid to take on Rep. John Culberson (R-TX).
  • Lupe Valdez (D) and Andrew White (D) are headed to a runoff in the Democratic primary for governor.

Associated Press: “Equally striking was the showing by women on the ballot: Of the nearly 50 women running for Congress in Texas, more than half won their primaries outright or advanced to runoffs. What’s more, at least three of those runoffs in May will feature women going head-to-head, including a key race for Democrats in their bid to take control of the U.S. House this fall.”

Is Texas on the Verge of Turning Blue?

“One big question to watch Tuesday is whether the wave of Democratic enthusiasm that has emerged across the country in the last year — and in Texas’s early vote tallies — seems big enough way to make a dent in Democrats’ historical disadvantages in places like Texas,” NBC News reports.

First Read: “So on Tuesday, one piece of advice: Count the vote numbers between Democrats and Republicans. They could tell quite a story.”

Earlier for members: Something’s Going On In Texas

When You Harass a State Senator

From the Texas Tribune:

Early in her tenure in the state Senate, Wendy Davis remembers having a conversation at a political event with an older man who happened to be a recently elected, first-term House member. Unaware she was a fellow lawmaker, he reached forward, as though to pat her arm, and instead reached between her arm and breast and cupped her breast.

“It wasn’t an accidental brushing,” the former state senator said. “It was a purposeful touching of my breast.”

Davis told her colleagues in the House about the incident and “as a consequence of that, he had a challenge getting anything passed,” she said.

Finally, he apologized. But Davis, the Fort Worth Democrat who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2014 after serving in the state senate for six years, acknowledged that her position gave her a form of recourse not available to other women working in the Capitol.

Straus Upends Texas Politics with Decision

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R) announced “he will not run for re-election in 2018, a decision that has the potential to upend the political balance of power in the state,” the Texas Tribune reports.

“Straus, who has lately been the most powerful moderate Republican in the Texas Capitol, said he will serve until the end of his term.”

“His decision will immediately set in motion a scrum for control of the House, pitting arch-conservative members who have opposed him against more centrist Republicans who have backed Straus… Tea Party leaders and their allies have blamed Straus for killing controversial measures backed by the hard right, most notably a  bill that would have regulated which bathrooms transgender Texans could use.”

Court Says Texas Map Must Be Redrawn

Federal judges ruled that “parts of the Texas House map must be redrawn ahead of the 2018 elections because lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minorities in crafting several legislative districts,” the Texas Tribune reports.

“So far, state leaders have signaled they have no appetite to call lawmakers back to Austin over mapmaking. Instead, Texas is looking to the U.S. Supreme Court to keep its political boundaries intact.”

Republicans Worry Texas Map May Be Blown Up

Several congressional Republicans told the Texas Tribune they want Gov. Greg Abbott (R) “to call a special session to redraw the Congressional lines. They believe such a maneuver would put their allies in the state legislature in the driver’s seat, circumventing Republicans’ worst fear: that a panel of federal judges will draw a less favorable map of its own.”

“The problem with that strategy? Austin has no appetite for it — largely, state Republicans argue, because it would make no legal sense in the latest battle of the state’s campaign to preserve its current maps.”

Cornyn Says Wall Not a Priority for Texans

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, believes that constructing a physical wall on the U.S.-Mexico border would not rate high among Texans, The Hill reports.

Said Cornyn: “I think people would say, if you are talking about a physical wall, it would rate very low. Because I think most people in Texas understand that our 1,200-mile border is not … the same at every point along the way.”

Texas Moves to Limit Transgender Bathroom Rights

“One of the most powerful Republican officials in Texas put the state on the front lines of the nation’s culture wars on Thursday, announcing the filing of a bill that would require people in government buildings and in public schools to use the bathroom that corresponds with their biological sex,” the New York Times reports.

“The bill, announced by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, is similar to one that caused a political uproar in North Carolina and led to widespread boycotts there by companies, entertainers, sports events and gay rights groups, which said the bill discriminated against transgender people who use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.”

Can Clinton Win Texas?

New York Times: “Democrats in the state call it a long shot, but some say they believe she has a chance; Republicans say it will be close but are confident that Mr. Trump will triumph. Political consultants who have both Republican and Democratic clients, and people who study Texas politics, say regardless of Mr. Trump’s narrow lead, he will take the state.”

The HuffPost Pollster average shows Trump leading in Texas by five points, 47% to 42%.

Texas ‘Victory Chairman’ Won’t Back Trump

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush (R) was named the party’s 2016 “victory chairman,” charged with raising money and running the statewide campaign to “annihilate the Democrats up-and-down the ballot this November,” the Austin American-Statesman reports.

“No matter that Donald Trump, who humiliated Bush’s father, Jeb, as ‘low energy,’ during the rough and tumble GOP presidential race, will presumably be topping the ticket, and that neither Jeb Bush, nor George P. Bush’s uncle, former President George W. Bush, nor his grandfather, former President George H.W. Bush, plan to back Trump.”

George P. Bush said he doesn’t plan to endorse or even vote for Trump either.