AUSTIN, Texas - The week in Texas politics included a return to the Texas State Capitol for hearings about the border and the power grid. But there was also some ballot box drama as well as some campaign repositioning.
FOX7's Rudy Koski and our panel of political experts take a look at the issues that dominated This Week in Texas Politics.
RK: And we're back in the LBJ Penthouse to talk about this week in Texas politics, and we've got a great panel today to talk about that, a tieless panel. I didn't get the memo, apparently. And we'll start with our headline today with Steven Dial, FOX4, your headline for the week.
SD: Lawsuits, lawsuits and more lawsuits,
RK: Gromer Jeffers, Dallas Morning News, your headline for the week.
GJ: It's an election year, so border security is going to be a top issue again.
RK: And political analyst Mark Wiggins, your headline for the week.
MW: Will, Europe's saying "Do svidaniya" to Russian oil and howdy to Texas.
Border/power grid hearings
RK: Here in Austin, the big news was that we had some, some legislative hearings, primarily with the Senate, two Senate committees, one on the border, one on the grid. Steven, which one struck you the most as sticking? Was it the border issue or was it the grid?
SD: Politically, is going to be the border. But as to what's really impacting every Texan is going to be the grid.
GJ: We won't have a real test of the grid. I don't think maybe until next winter we'll see what happens in the summer, as border security at all this, it's going to be here for a while because it's an election issue.
MW: I think when you just look at the manpower that is committed in terms of DPS down at the border, there are far fewer to put on our roads and highways, on I-35 and on 45. The places where they would normally be routinely patrolling.
RK: Y'all touched on the governor really pushing the border and the fentanyl crisis that is coming across the border. Beto O'Rourke, meanwhile, pitched a new plan in regards to hiring nurses. Does that stick? Steven?
SD: I don't know so much about it sticking, but Beto needed to shift gears. So I think it's a nice pivot. Will it be a splash pivot? I doubt it. But it is a pivot because he's been talking about the electric grid for too long.
GJ: Well, Steven is, right? And he's is addressing a problem. I think he needs a basket of proposals to address problems such as, you know, shortages not just in the nursing industry, but elsewhere.
MW: And on the fentanyl issue, this is sort of the governor, I think, trying to triangulate between border security and health care as well. You know, he gets to reach into that border security bucket, continue taking shots at the Biden administration, which he's doing well at, and by extension, Beto O'Rourke. But at the same time, he's hoping to get a little bit of credit for touching on that health care issue where the Republicans have been unpopular.
GJ: I think of his photo ops, Mark with law enforcement officials about the fentanyl fight.
Harris County vote count
RK: Harris County had a major problem with the vote count. How big of an impact does that fiasco in Harris County have statewide? Or is it going to be a non-factor as we move forward?
GJ: You got to get it right. You got to have a competent election officials, not just in Harris County, but everywhere, to just do the nuts and bolts to count the votes. Because if you don't, you take away from an important issue like what's happening with these mail in ballots.
SD: If they don't get this thing straight, it's going to impact the Republicans and Democrats. So the Harris County issue is a bad stain on Harris County, especially since they've been kind of the poster child for voting rights, if you will, according to some people in the state.
MW: There's got to be a way to figure this out heading into the general election, because if it doesn't, it is definitely going to cause huge problems.
RK: A big overriding issue of the week that everyone's been watching: gas prices going up almost or over $4 a gallon. How does this factor in guys in regards to the runoffs, November? And can Texas really, Texas oil really solve this problem? Gromer?
GJ: Wow. Every year there seem to be something else. Some, some line, we haven't crossed that we're crossing, so I expect it to be an issue in the upcoming election.
MW: You know, who's not upset about those gas prices right now as folks in Houston. The oil and gas you see in big dollar signs in Europe, if Texas can replace that Russian production. I think it's a big opportunity for the renewable energy folks to jumpstart their projects that are intended to provide some backups alternatives to natural gas. And a lot of folks, I think, are saying that this is a moment where Texas is in a good position to lead.
SD: But if things continue to go up, it is going to be The Thing, definitely in November. Not necessarily right now.
RK: The baseball lockout has ended. Is this the distraction we need?
MW: The National League is going to have designated hitters? We're going to we're going to have bigger bases. What does that look like? I don't know.
SD: That state right here. Georgia champs are back. So that’s all I want to say,
GJ: Here is my Cubs blanket. Yeah.
RK: And with that, let's steal home and finish up with our final word of the week. Mark Wiggins, your final word for the week.
MW: Oil, black, gold. Texas tea.
GJ: Well, well, it was Oil, so I will say Border.
RK: And with that, we're wrapping up another Week In Texas Politics.