- Judge Will Hear Birth Certificate Case Next Month
- Trump signs pledge to back GOP's 2016 presidential nominee
- Austin Limo & Taxi Drivers Don't Want To 'Pay The Price' Anymore
- Austin TNC Drivers Push City To Dump Proposed Regulations
- Perry campaign will have 1 paid staffer in Iowa
- Hundreds Of New Laws Take Effect In Texas
- Racing Commission Suspends Operations Amid Funding Squabble
- Latest Texas School Finance Case Reaches State Supreme Court
- Kentucky clerk still won't issue same-sex marriage licenses
- Perry Campaign Will Have 1 Paid Staffer In Iowa
- 2011 Budget Cuts Still Hamper Schools, Data Shows
- Abbott Wants New Abortion Limits Following Undercover Video
- August is buy month for federal regulators
- Sex slavery in ISIS
- Trump, Cruz To Hold Joint Event To Blast Iran Deal
- Texas Attorney General Paxton Pleads Not Guilty To Fraud
- Perry On Campaign Struggles: I'm Not Giving Up
- How low will gas prices go?
- Perry, Santorum Presidential Hopes Undercut By Own Donors
- Are GOP candidates trying to out-Trump Trump?
- Former intern for Texas legislature charged with manufacture or possession with intent ot deliver controlled substances
- Austin Sues Texas Over Property Tax Appraisal System
- Battle Over School Funding In Texas Set To Continue
- Abbott: Indicted AG Paxton Innocent Until Proven Guilty
- WATCH LIVE: Donald Trump rally in Alabama
- LIVE STREAM: Join us for a Town Hall discussion on campus carry
- Comparing Bill and Hillary Clinton's scandals
- Taking New Steps To Put An End To 'Revenge Porn'
- Police: Man who beat homeless Mexican said 'Trump was right'
- City Council Votes In Favor Of Conditional Use Permit For East Austin Farm
- Cheating website subscribers included White House, Congress workers
- ISIS territory: one year later
- Luckless At Capitol, Minimum Wage Advocates Go Local
- Ethics fray puts Texas AG Paxton's office against big donor
- Deez Nuts For President? Independent Candidate Has Strong Showing In Polls
- Asked If She Wiped Email Server, Clinton Says, 'What, Like With A Cloth?'
- New Travis Co. Courthouse To Appear On Nov. Ballot
- Texas AG Paxton Re-indicted
- 305 more Hillary Clinton e-mails deemed 'questionable'
- George Zimmerman Confederate flag painting the prize in 'Muslim-free' gun store contest
- Interim Committee To Take A Closer Look At Jail Safety
- Top Texas Official Won't Apologize For Muslim-Bombing Post
- Reluctant Kentucky clerk gets time for gay marriage appeal
- Austin Panel Set To Consider Water Fluoridation Proposal
- Connect To Congress: Rep. Roger Williams
- Trump still tops polls as first policy plan is released
- Parents To Be Guaranteed Right To Bury Stillborn Babies
- Iran's Ayatollah releases anti-American, anti-Israel book
- HELP WANTED: Inspectors General needed
- Texas police officers' 'All Lives Matter' Facebook post goes viral
2013 Closes Another Year Of Drama In Texas Politics
Updated: Tuesday, December 31 2013, 12:43 PM CST
Listen closely and you can almost hear the dramatic organs playing out another cliffhanger ending to the annual episode of Texas politics that was 2013.
To the die-hard viewer, it combined the best elements of soap opera and reality television with a generous sprinkling of pro wrestling spectacle to taste. New faces emerged while older ones passed on but the story lines from the Capitol to the campaign trail were rarely without the outsized drama that has defined the Lone Star State's particular brand of civics since the days of Moses Austin.
The year began with the opening of the 83rd Texas Legislature in January. By many accounts, it was one of the least rancorous meetings of that rowdy body in recent memory. That is until the explosive issue of abortion took things supernova. Democratic State Sen. Wendy Davis catapulted to the national spotlight with an 11-hour filibuster that ended with a screaming gallery of supporters and a regular session with unfinished business.
Gov. Rick Perry quickly called a special session to come back and pass tough new restrictions on abortion in the state. He also told lawmakers to take up a new plan to finance water infrastructure projects in the drought-stricken state and also a proposal to detour billions of dollars to maintain and build new roads. Legislative congestion over the latter forced a second special session which lawmakers quickly resolved by approving the idea before the governor could find another reason to keep them busy in Austin.
The end of business at the Capitol unofficially opened up the jockeying to move up the professional political ladder in the state. Gov. Perry's decision to step aside after four terms in office at long last uncapped a geyser of ambitions that will promises to bring about the biggest change in the look of state of government in years.
State Sen. Davis and Attorney General Greg Abbott are both seeking their party's nominations to square off in the first open election for the governor's mansion since Ann Richards and Clayton Williams squared off a quarter of a century ago.
State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte's virtually uncontested run for the Democratic nod for lieutenant governor all but sets up the first two-woman tag team at the top of a statewide ticket. Meanwhile, on the Republican side of that primary fight, the four-way battle royal between incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, State Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, and Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples has been the must-watch race for fans of good old-fashioned Texas-style swagger and mud-slinging.
That is until Sen. John Cornyn drew an unexpected primary challenge in early December from outspoken conservative Congressman Steve Stockman. The underfunded Stockman launched his run with a screed labeling Cornyn a liberal and a puppet of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Meanwhile, Cornyn's junior colleague continued to blaze a rough-and-tumble trail that put him in contention with Pope Francis for Time magazine's Person of the Year. Sen. Ted Cruz dropped the hammer on his first day in Washington and kept his foot on the Tea Party gas-peddle throughout 2013. His efforts culminated in another high-profile marathon speaking session that proved, if anything, Texans on both sides of the aisle can talk. His twelve-hour monologue on the Senate floor didn't hold up or block any official business, but it did put his vehement opposition to the Affordable Care Act on the national map and earned him wide acclaim or derision – depending on who you talked to – as the mastermind of the federal government shutdown that plunged Republican poll numbers into a bucket of ice (the pendulum swung the other way when federal business resumed and attention turned to the disastrous roll-out of the federal health exchange web site). Cruz walked away from the fight as the undisputed champion of the Tea Party with the political momentum to enter the 2016 presidential race.
If Cruz does end up running, he could find himself in an intra-Texas civil war. Gov. Perry's post-lege activity left little doubt that the erstwhile presidential candidate would jump back into the fray in 2016. Coming off his epic flame-out performance in the 2012 Republican nomination race, Perry appeared to take a more strategic and methodical approach this year. Starring in a series of targeted ad campaigns, Perry blitzed into Democrat-controlled states to spread the gospel of Texas' low-tax, low-regulation business climate. His opponents accused him of poaching jobs but either way, it was a prime opportunity for Perry to appear in crucial battleground states to make his case as a successful leader.
Other major headlines in 2013 included the November election that saw voters passing a slew of new amendments to the State Constitution and having to use their ID's to cast a ballot for the very time under a contentious new law. The U.S. Supreme Court sent a case involving affirmative action in college admission brought by a former University of Texas student back to a lower court which is expected to make a ruling in early 2014. Meantime, the future of state politics is anything but predictable as national Democrats pour in money to the group Battleground Texas and old guard Republican billionaire donors have passed away. Tune in next year to see what happens.
By Caleb Pritchard, KEYE TV News Producer