This Week in Texas Politics: Texas Governor race heating up, voting reform measures fail

School vouchers. Campaign war chests. The FBI paying a visit to a Texas Congressman, and another ballot box battle. Those are some of the big topics that dominated Texas political headlines.

FOX 7's Rudy Koski and his panel of Texas political journalists weigh in on voting laws, the Texas Governor race, Gov. Greg Abbott's parental bill of rights, and more.

RUDY KOSKI: "And here we are back in the LBJ Penthouse to talk about This Week in Texas Politics, with me today to talk about it, political consultant Mark Wiggins, Brian Smith with St Edward's University and Steven Dial with FOX 4 Dallas. Gentlemen, give me your headline for the week. Brian."

BRIAN SMITH: "Early voting and the new laws that go with it are less than a month away."

RUDY KOSKI: "Steven, your headline for the week."

STEVEN DIAL: "Biden tries to weather Storm after one year later."

RUDY KOSKI: "And Mark your headline for the week."

MARK WIGGINS: "Finance reports shed light on the campaign Royal Rumble."

RUDY KOSKI: "And let's talk about that campaign finance report that came out this week. Any surprises for you, Mark?"

MARK WIGGINS: "Well, obviously, you know, the governor raising a record amount of money and Beto O'Rourke, his Democratic opponent raising a pretty sizable sum as well. But I also thought it very interesting that Eva Guzman outraised Ken Paxton by almost a million dollars in the Attorney General's race, of course,  Paxton still has much more cash on hand."

BRIAN SMITH: "You know, money is always a good sign of success, and if you have it, you're going to flaunt it. So there may be some sandbagging going on. But I think a lot of people were pretty honest, especially the ones that had the big hauls."

RUDY KOSKI: "Steven, was the AG race the one that you were really watching on with. Is that the big money race?"

STEVEN DIAL: "Yeah. And I and I think, you know, everyone's looking at who may be able to knock off Ken Paxton. This thing is really about the heat up. And I really think it's going to be closer than some people think."

RUDY KOSKI: "A Congressional candidate who is possibly facing a tough race is Henry Cuellar, down in South Texas, and something strange happened with him. The FBI raided his house. Brian, what do you make of this?"

BRIAN SMITH: "Well, we know the FBI raided his house and because it's an ongoing investigation, that's all they're going to tell us."

MARK WIGGINS: "You're right. He's up for reelection. He's got a rematch against Jessica Cisneros, who he barely beat in 2020. So the optics are certainly not great for politics." 

STEVEN DIAL: "I just say the timing sucks for him, even if he's not liable of anything."

RUDY KOSKI: "Governor Greg Abbott revealed his Parental Bill of Rights. Mark, is this just another reboot of vouchers?"

MARK WIGGINS: "Well, look, everything on this Bill of Rights is something that is already addressed in existing law. Parents have lots of rights in Texas, as we should. But this list is really nothing new. I think the big concern for public school advocates is that this becomes a stalking horse for school vouchers."

STEVEN DIAL: "It sounds good. You know, everybody covered it, on Thursday night. I think the governor's just trying his best to do, you know, things that he knows. I don't want to use the word clickbait, but knows it's going to gain some traction, and he talked about it, whether people support it or not."

RUDY KOSKI: "Brian, you like that political clickbait?"

BRIAN SMITH: "I love that. And Abbott's a smart politician. That's why he's been in office so long. And he saw that it worked in Virginia."

RUDY KOSKI: "Another low hanging curveball in the campaign here statewide is a another federal issue, and that's the voting reform measure that the Democrats failed to push through. Beto O'Rourke making an issue of that Friday afternoon here in Austin is that Beto's clickbait."

BRIAN SMITH: "For Beto, though, I think his better opportunity for better voter reform was to have  gotten elected to the Senate in 2018, and that's where the action would happen."

STEVEN DIAL: "They could use it, but let's really look at it. This is something that Democrats have been talking about a lot and Beto O'Rourke is going to get Democrats vote. I don't think this is a topic that's a crossover."

RUDY KOSKI: "Mark, do you think people are taking, paying attention to the ballot issue between the Secretary of State's Office and the clerks and now the League of Women Voters?"

MARK WIGGINS: "This is sort of a perfect example of a preventable disaster."

BRIAN SMITH: "Like Mark had said. You know, you knew there was going to be trouble,  you just didn't know what it was going to be. And what we've seen is when you register to vote, especially if you've registered a long time ago, you don't remember what document you use on."

RUDY KOSKI: "Earlier this month. Republican gubernatorial candidate Don Huffines launched an ad saying if he's elected, the Cowboys will win the Championship. And then we started the week with the Cowboys losing their playoff game. Stephen, did Huffines jinx the Cowboys?"

STEVEN DIAL: "I think his opponent just got some, some social media, I guess some social media stock that they can use against him."

RUDY KOSKI: "Brian, Don a Jinx?"

BRIAN SMITH: "Don is not a jinx, but you don't run the ball up the middle when you have no timeouts."

RUDY KOSKI: "Mark, do you agree with that? What do you think? Just stay out of, just stay up, stay out of political football."

MARK WIGGINS: "You know, Rudy, my therapist, has advised me to just accept that this happened, and I'm trying to put it behind me and just deal with the emotional fallout, right now. So yeah, I think I'd rather just forget about this season and concentrate on the next."

RUDY KOSKI: "All right. And let's concentrate on This Week in Texas Politics with our final word of the week. Mark, we'll start with you. Your word for the week." 

MARK WIGGINS: "Money, money, money. "

RUDY KOSKI: "Brian, your word for the week. "

BRIAN SMITH: "Filibuster."

RUDY KOSKI: "Steven, your word for the week."

STEVEN DIAL: "Voting."

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

FOX 7 Discussion: Abbott's Operation Lone Star called unconstitutional
Texas Secretary of State 'surprised' by mail-in ballot application rejections
Texas launches statewide online mail-in-ballot tracker for voters
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