This Week in Texas Politics: Abbott's pornography investigation and more

The big stories this week in Texas politics factor into the upcoming primary elections, including Gov. Greg Abbott's school book pornography investigation

Saturday begins the filing process for candidates seeking their party's nomination for office. Democrats are trying to decide who will run and how many statewide offices will be targeted. 

Congressman Louie Gohmert is also trying to decide if he will jump into an already crowded field for the GOP nomination for Texas Attorney General.

FOX 7 Austin's Rudy Koski and his panel of contributors discuss the top stories this week in Texas politics:

RUDY KOSKI: "Here we are back in the LBJ Penthouse to talk about this week in Texas politics, and let's start off right off the bat with Patrick Svitek, with the Texas Tribune. Patrick, what's your headline for the week?"

PATRICK SVITEK: "My headline for the week is about politics, it's about some of the uncertain questions that we still have about this 2021 primaries and redistricting, I think is adding a new element of uncertainty or an element of uncertainty that we don't normally have during this period."

RUDY KOSKI: "Gromer Jeffers, Dallas Morning News. What's your headline for the week?"

GROMER JEFFERS: "My headline is similar is said the filing period is underway and both parties are putting together their nominees for the general election, an important 2022 midterm."

RUDY KOSKI: "Eleanor Dearman with Fort Worth Star-Telegram. What's your headline for the week?"

ELEANOR DEARMAN: "Yeah, I'm going to go with books in Texas schools and spend a lot of conversation about that in recent weeks in Texas."

RUDY KOSKI: "And Brian Smith with St. Edward's University. Brian, what's your headline?"

BRIAN SMITH: "Things are quiet, almost too quiet."

RUDY KOSKI: "All right, let's get into it. The week began with Governor Greg Abbott jumping into the great schoolbook investigation, allegations that there is pornography in the schools. Eleanor, you touched on this. Is this in your opinion, a real investigation? Or is this just more campaigning?"

ELEANOR DEARMAN: "I think, you know, you have some teacher groups pushing back against that idea that, you know, this is a problem, you know, suggesting it's more of a political point, especially as you know, like you mentioned, Canada filings opening up and some really going to have primary season start ramping up."

GROMER JEFFERS: "But it seems like every Republican candidate in Texas, well, not every, but many of them have their own little book investigation going on. So it's a weird time because that is an issue that some GOP candidates believe that they can get traction on.

BRIAN SMITH: "Everybody knows this is campaign porn and like real porn, we know when we see it. This is all about motivating your base and it'll help the Republicans. And if it's a winning issue, it's a way of saying CRT without actually having to say that."

RUDY KOSKI: "Signing up for the election starts in the weekend. Patrick, do the Democrats use this as something a rallying cry for them because they haven't had much to really hang their hats on?"

PATRICK SVITEK: "Yeah, the big question, obviously for the Democrats, is how are they going to fill out their statewide slate? They have candidates, you know, prominently running for lieutenant governor, for attorney general, but they still need a big candidate for governor. Obviously, Beto O'Rourke is widely expected to run for that position. It's just not really a question of if now it's a matter of when."

RUDY KOSKI: "Gromer, Beto O'Rourke does have some baggage with them from previous elections in regards to things that just don't play well in Texas. Does this open the door for an independent candidate?"

GROMER JEFFERS: "I don't think so. It's tough running as an independent in Texas, but you're right, that all does have to address concerns that he's quote too liberal for Texas, specifically the gun issue. But as Patrick mentioned, Democrats have to round out a statewide ticket. They also have to be concerned about the diversity of that ticket. This is a party that really depends on Latino voters, black voters to be the engine of their turnout in many ways."

RUDY KOSKI: "Eleanor, the other big hot race that's going on is the attorney general's race. And we've got a big, unknown or big question mark with the East Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert saying, Yeah, I'm going to run. Well, maybe not. I'm exploring. And there was a lot of confusion this week in regards to what will he do? Do we still just not know what he's going to do with the race?"

ELEANOR DEARMAN: "I think we're waiting to see. I mean, I know he's trying to get some fundraising in. If you look at his website, is it still going to categorize as an exploratory bid? So I think it's kind of waiting to see whether or not he throws his hat into what is already a crowded Republican primary race."

BRIAN SMITH: "He brings name recognition. He brings an area of the state that's voted for. Also, he brings a real conservative alternative to PACs. And when we think about Gohmert, he's about as far right in Congress as possible. And I think the Republican Party is actually very scared that that could bring the Democrats into the statewide races."

RUDY KOSKI: "All right. So let's wrap up this week with one word. Patrick, we'll start with you. Your one word for the week? Patrick?


RUDY KOSKI: "Gromer, your one word?"

GOMER JEFFERS: "Primaries."

RUDY KOSKI: "Eleanor, your word for the week?"


RUDY KOSKI: And Brian, your word for the week?"

BRIAN SMITH: "We didn't mention his name, so I am going to Watterson (Matthew McConaughey).

RUDY KOSKI: "And with that, we'll wrap up This Week in Texas Politics."

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