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Tuesday , October 22 2019
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Home | Tag Archives: vote2020

Tag Archives: vote2020

Analysis: Two more months of musical chairs for Texans seeking office in 2020

Want to play parlor games?

Texas candidates who want to run in 2020 don’t have to declare their plans for another couple of months, leaving time for all sorts of crazy twists and turns before the election ballots are set.

Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. is the filing deadline for 2020 candidates in Texas. Here’s a lesser-known rule: Nobody can officially file to run for office until Nov. 9. All of that means nobody has paid the entry fee and signed his or her name to get on the ballot; many have started campaign finance operations, but those filings don’t put a candidate on the ballot.

The reasons for running, or not running, are still being created. On Monday, U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, a Clarendon Republican elected in 1994, said he won’t seek another term in office.

That particular development doesn’t create much opportunity for Democrats; Thornberry’s district is strawberry red. He won reelection in 2018 with 81.5% of the vote — with both a Democrat and a Libertarian in the competition. But for ambitious Republicans, it opens a door that has been locked for a quarter of a century. People will be filing for that election now who, with Thornberry in office, wouldn’t even have whispered about it.

Open seats like that — Thornberry is the sixth Texas Republican member of Congress to decide it’s time to collect that fat congressional pension — prompt changes in plans. Three of those — Thornberry, Mike Conaway of Midland and Bill Flores of Bryan — represent districts that would be difficult to impossible for Democrats to win. But three — Will Hurd of Helotes, Kenny Marchant of Coppell and Pete Olson of Sugar Land — are in seats Democrats could win. In fact, each of them survived a good scare on the way back into office in 2018: Hurd won by a 0.44-percentage-point margin, Marchant by 3.1 points and Olson by 4.9 points.

Author: ROSS RAMSEYThe Texas Tribune

Editor’s note: If you’d like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey’s column, click here.

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Analysis: A one-subject election year for Texas (and everyone else)

If the political conversation one year from now is what it is today, every candidate on the ballot — from the people seeking the presidency to the people running for local school boards — is going to have to take a position on impeachment.

And if the storyline has changed by then, it will be less a change in subject than another season of a familiar TV show about the adventures of Donald Trump.

Sure, local issues will be debated here and there, but the election year ahead — at least right now — is shaping up to be more like a referendum on national events and personalities.

Particularly the attention-gobbling personality in the White House.

The furor over Trump’s impeachment might not be in the headlines in a year, fading like the Mueller report did, but it’s hard to imagine a pre-election climate that isn’t centered on his reelection bid.

And it’s hard to imagine a campaign season that doesn’t force every candidate on the ballot — friend or foe of the president — to take a position attacking or defending him.

You don’t have to wait a year to see this happening. It’s happening now.

It’s not that local and state issues are of no concern. That list is long and full of difficult policy problems.

It includes the constitutionally protected use, possession and sale of guns, and how to respond to four mass shootings in Texas in less than two years — in Sutherland Springs, Santa Fe, El Paso and Odessa.

It includes access to health care, an issue that helped propel some of the Democrats who got better-than-expected results in their 2018 races and one that has a central role in the Democratic presidential primary debates.

And the list includes public education, which became a major issue in 2018, especially in Republican primaries and the general election.

Other issues from previous elections and legislative sessions are still of high importance to some voters, like property taxes, state spending and the state’s enforcement efforts at the Texas-Mexico border. It includes prosaic issues, like getting rid of the long lines at driver’s license facilities, highway expansion and repair, scooters on streets, homeless Texans, marijuana legalization and whether people can buy beer on Sunday mornings. All the things, and more.

But the election conversation at the moment is more likely to pivot around the presidential race and candidates’ relation to it, however near or far they are from Washington, D.C.

Right now, that’s about impeachment.

A year ago, it was about the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh.

In between, the Mueller report was at the top of the political charts.

Cutting through that with local issues, no matter how compelling, is difficult. Those will be in the mix — and will decide some races. Unless something changes, however, the driving issues in this election cycle — the ones that motivate voters — will be the ones emanating from the loudest voice in national politics.

If Trump is unpopular, Democrats will be delighted. If he’s popular — and the advantage in presidential races usually belongs to the incumbent — the Republicans will be overjoyed.

Either way, he’s likely to be the subject, and his competition for attention in Texas next year is thin — the top statewide offices won’t be on the ballot, the U.S. Senate race won’t have Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke spurring interest, and every other candidate on the ballot will be struggling to win attention away from the people at the top of the ballot.

Texas candidates could very well end up doing what they’re doing to elbow their way into your attention right now: commenting and opining about the news coming out of Washington, in the world of Donald Trump.

Whatever that happens to be.

Author:  ROSS RAMSEYThe Texas Tribune

Editor’s note: If you’d like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey’s column, click here.

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Turnout among young Texas voters exploded in 2018. Groups want to make it even bigger in 2020.

The next presidential election may be more than a year away, but groups working to get young people in the state civically engaged have been beefing up their operations for a while now.

One of those groups, MOVE Texas, has experienced a massive growth in staff, organizers and investments.

“Our budget has increased something near 900% in the past two years,” said Charlie Bonner, MOVE’s communications manager. “We are really seeing people start to invest in Texas in a way they never have before.”

Texas has one of the youngest populations in the country. In fact, only Utah, Alaska and the District of Columbia have younger populations – and not by much. It’s projected that by 2022, one in three voters in Texas will be under 30.

“There is a lot of potential there,” said Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, a lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs. “Young folks don’t tend to register, don’t tend to vote at the same rates that older folks do.”

A historically bad investment

Low turnout in years past has hampered big investments into young voters until somewhat recently.

Texas has one of the worst voter participation rates overall — and youth voter turnout is particularly dire. In 2014, for example, just 8% of Texas youth turned out to vote.

Rae Martinez, who works for a youth voter engagement effort called Texas Rising, said investing in young voters in Texas has largely fallen to nonprofits because campaigns see it as a bad investment.

“Sometimes when campaigns come along the investment in young people isn’t as strong as maybe in organizations who primarily serve young people,” Martinez said. “Because campaigns have felt that young people wouldn’t turn out for them.”

But things have started to change.

Triple the turnout

During the last election, turnout among Texas voters under 30 tripled compared to the previous midterm election.

“2018 reversed the trend that we’d been seeing in terms of decline in voter turnout among youth and among Latinos,” DeFrancesco Soto said.

That change is also part of the reason the state experienced one of the closest statewide elections in decades, when Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke lost to incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz by less than 3 percentage points.

Martinez said that close election made it easier to raise money for efforts aimed at getting even more young people and people of color to vote.

Massive investments

“The increase in youth voter participation in 2018 ­— donors are excited about that,” Martinez said. “They want to see that continue to grow.”

And Texas Rising plans to register thousands of new young voters ahead of 2020.

Bonner said between now and that presidential election, MOVE Texas alone plans to register 100,000 young voters.

“It’s a lot,” he said. “So we are massively scaling to be able to meet that and expanding into new cities, hiring new organizers and training as many young people as possible to be volunteer deputy registrars.”

It’s not just big investments in organizing that is slowly making Texas’ electorate younger. Martinez said young voters are also responding to policies and decisions being made that many of them they don’t agree with.

“There’s a lot of bad stuff that’s happening right now,” Martinez said. “I think that people on campus that we are encountering want to do something. They want to have a say in the political process.”

Looking to 2020

The combination of all this is why DeFrancesco Soto said she thinks youth voter turnout could be even bigger next year.

“I think we are going to see that trend continue — and then be popped up a little bit more by the sheer fact that you always have higher turnout, higher engagement in presidential year elections,” she said.

And for organizers who have been doing this work for a while, this is about more than 2020. Bonner said this is also about investing in the state’s future and making sure its electorate more accurately reflects its population.

“If we get [young] folks to vote in two to three elections, they become lifelong voters,” he said. “And so this election, after that massive growth in 2018, it is going to be critical to creating that habit for young voters.”

Author: ASHLEY LOPEZ, KUT NEWS – The Texas Tribune

Disclosure: MOVE Texas and the University of Texas at Austin-LBJ School of Public Affairs have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

Beto O’Rourke releases 10 years of tax returns

Former congressman Beto O’Rourke released 10 years’ worth of tax returns Monday night, becoming the latest 2020 presidential contender to reveal information about his personal finances.

The Democratic candidate’s disclosure came shortly after Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who is also running for president, released his tax returns dating back to 2009.

The returns show that O’Rourke and his wife, Amy, made more than $370,000 in 2017, the most recent year for which they released returns. That amount includes O’Rourke’s $162,211 salary as a member of Congress representing Texas and more than $11,000 from Stanton Street Technology, an El Paso-based Internet company O’Rourke co-founded in 1999.

It also includes about $53,000 in income from the Council on Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development, or CREEED. Amy O’Rourke has worked as a consultant for the philanthropic organization, which aims to improve the academic performance of students in the El Paso area.

Earlier in the day, O’Rourke told reporters that he would release his tax returns in an effort to be transparent with voters — and he criticized President Trump for not doing the same.

“If he must be compelled through a subpoena to do so, so be it,” O’Rourke said, following a town hall in Charlotte on Monday morning. “But everyone who runs to seek that office should release their taxes.”

Read related Tribune coverage

Jenna Johnson in Charlotte and Michael Scherer in Washington contributed to this report.


Rep. Mary González Announces “Positivity in Politics” Initiative

On Friday, State Representative Mary González announced the “Positivity in Politics” initiative, which seeks to highlight examples of positivity in grassroots leadership over the next two years leading up to the 2020 Presidential Election.

“After Donald Trump’s comments yesterday, anyone could be forgiven for feeling that divisive rhetoric and antagonism have taken the place of policy-making. But it doesn’t have to be this way. That is why today I am announcing the ‘Positivity in Politics’ campaign. Over the next two years, we will be recognizing communities across Texas coming together, in the true spirit of America, to reject negativity and work together for a better future.” Rep. González said.

“People of color, LGBTQ folks, and other marginalized communities deserve to have their voices amplified and their work recognized,” said Rep. González. “I am looking forward to helping share their stories through my ‘Positivity in Politics’ initiative.”

If residents know of a leader, organization, or community they would like to be recognized, they contact Representative González’s office at (512) 463-0613.

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