This Week in Texas Politics: Campaign trails heat up

Campaign trails are heating up, the National Guard deployment to the border is becoming political, and several new courtroom showdowns dominated This Week in Texas Politics

FOX 7 Austin's Rudy Koski and his panel of political analysts, Scott Braddock, Steven Dial, Gromer Jeffers and Brian Smith, discussed those topics, as well as an emerging battle in a race that’s been flying under the radar, lately.

RUDY: And we're back at the LBJ Penthouse talking about This Week in Texas Politics and this week started off with campaigns. Key campaigns hitting the road and then some very hot topics heading in the courtroom. Let's start off with the headlines for the week, and we'll begin first with Scott Braddock with the quorum report. Scott, your headline for the week,.

SCOTT: Rudy. It's what you said. Texas primaries in full swing now.

RUDY: Steven Dial, FOX 4 Dallas. Your headline for the week?

STEVEN: I'll put a twist. Primary season heating up.

RUDY: Gromer Jeffrers, Dallas Morning News. Your headline?

GROMER: Tough week for President Joe Biden as Texas primary season kicks into gear

RUDY: and Brian Smith with St. Edwards University. Your headline for the week?

BRIAN: All eyes on the border is Texas. Politics moves south.

RUDY: So Brian, let's start with you. What caught your attention?

BRIAN: I think the court decision against Greg Abbott is the biggest news for me right now because that came at a time that he didn't want it. He's in the middle of a race. One of his big signature conservative programs, Operation Lone Star, currently unconstitutional. And like you said, he's having trouble with the morale among the troops.

STEVEN: I mean, echoing off Brian, I mean, Governor Abbott has been pushing the border every day. I mean, he tweets about it maybe 10 times a day and talks about coronavirus, maybe once a day. So that's a blow to him. But he's also trying to deflect by the recent Supreme Court ruling, striking down President Biden's vaccine or test mandate. And so the border is a focus for the governor, but he's also trying to celebrate the fact that the Supreme Court sided with conservative governors like him.

SCOTT: It doesn't mean the governor is going to take his focus off of the border. Like Steven said, he tweets about it 10 times a day. And that number might actually be low, Steven. But you know, it is the main thing that excites the base of the Republican Party. The only thing that has trumped it as of late is the question about vaccine mandate, mask and mandates.

GROMER: That's the hot topic right now. And so it will be interesting to see if Abbott pivots to that more so they are then sort of talking about his operation on the border.

RUDY: Brian with Beto, he seems to be content with doing his campaign online right now. While, the governor is out literally going town to town, to town, to town. How long can Beto basically stay virtual?

BRIAN: He can say virtual right now because it's very inexpensive. He doesn't really have any primary challengers. He doesn't have to get out there spending a lot of money. But as soon as we find out who the Republican nominee is, he's going to have to focus on doing the high dollar advertisements and the traveling

RUDY: And the last big election. Mail-in ballots was a hot topic, and it looks like it's going to be again. We're seeing in several counties reporting that applications for mail-in ballots, a lot of them are being rejected because they're just not being filled out. They're missing numbers, or they're just the wrong type of application. That's just not up to date. Gromer, where are you seeing anything up there in the Dallas area that reflects what's happening in Travis County, Williamson County and San Antonio?

GROMER: It's just a lesson to voters and people sending in those applications that you're going to have to do it right because people are watching

RUDY: One race, that may be the surprise hot race in the primaries is the Republican primary for AG Commissioner. Scott, you're watching this one. This one's getting kind of ugly early.

SCOTT: In a way I didn't expect. I had seen that chairman James White, who is a retiring Texas House member from rural East Texas, last week I was interviewing White, and I kind of expected that he was just going to sort of introduce himself and talk about his resume. But he went on the attack and he's stayed on the attack during various events. And he's talking a lot about the fact that one of the top employees of one of the political employees of the incumbent Sid Miller was arrested last year in connection with what's an alleged scheme to shakedown farmers for hemp licenses. You can't make this stuff up.

GROMER: I still think the AG's race will be the hot one, but the AG Commissioner's race is interesting.

BRIAN: Scott is correct with the ability for graph. Any time you have an office like that, people are going to be interested and usually it's about who has a bigger truck and bigger hat. We're saying, let's go, what are the issues? And so it's very exciting.

STEVEN: I think a lot of races are up for grabs, not up for grabs, but in contention. I'll say that this cycle, especially when it comes to the primary season. So that's an interesting one to watch. But I still think this attorney general's race is going to get this. Yeah.

SCOTT: You know, and really, we should say one of the thing about, I think media in Texas and people in politics in Texas, tend to talk about the AG Commissioner's race in a way that doesn't it doesn't really meet the facts, which is that the AG Commissioner runs everywhere. They don't just run out in the country. People kind of talk about it as if it's something that has to do with, you know, how big your truck is or how big a cowboy hat is. But there are real questions that the incumbent needs to answer, and there are some things that you know, the challengers are putting on the table here that have to do with everybody.

RUDY: And with that, let's wrap up this week with our one word, Brian, your word for the week

BRIAN: Unconstitutional.

RUDY: Gromer, your word?

GROMER: Mandate

RUDY: Scott Braddock, your word for the week?

SCOTT: Primaries

RUDY: and Steven Dial, your word for the week.?


RUDY: All right.

GROMER:. hahaha

RUDY: And what a way to end this week in Texas politics.

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