Chad’s Morning Brief: Ted Cruz Backs John Cornyn Financially, Texas Voter ID Could Be Enforced This Week, & More [POLL]
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of August 26, 2013. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.
1. Cruz Does Back Cornyn and Others (link)
The media made a big deal out of Senator Ted Cruz not endorsing fellow U.S. Senator John Cornyn. Cruz has said that he will not endorse any incumbent. If you follow the money though, it’s clear where Cruz stands.
Cruz’s leadership political action committee, Jobs Growth and Freedom Fund, made only five donations in the first six months of its existence, and all of those dollars went to incumbents. On May 10, according to Federal Election Commission records, he wrote a $2,500 check to the campaign of Cornyn, the No. 2 GOP leader in the Senate who has moved aggressively to try to ward off a potential primary challenger next year.
The conservative firebrand dished out four other $2,500 donations to incumbents that same day: Sens. Jim Inhofe (Okla.), a 19-year veteran; Mike Lee (Utah), a fellow tea party favorite elected in 2010; Jim Risch (Idaho), who is seeking his second term in 2014; and Tim Scott (S.C.), who was appointed to the Senate after Jim DeMint resigned and is running in 2014 for the remaining years of DeMint’s term.
Cruz, while attending a political event in New Hampshire on Friday, told reporters that his policy was to stay out of GOP primaries involving Republican incumbents. “I think it is likely that I am going to stay out of incumbent primaries across the country, either supporting incumbents or opposing incumbents,” Cruz said.
Cruz’s comments came in response to questions about whether he would endorse Cornyn. He called Cornyn a “good man” but said he would not get involved in that race or any other incumbent races. That would place Cruz in an unusual position in his GOP caucus.
Many senators and the National Republican Senatorial Committee stay out of contested primaries when there is no Republican incumbent running — as was the case in 2012, when Kay Bailey Hutchison retired and Cruz faced Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in a heated GOP primary. Cornyn, then the NRSC chairman, steered clear of the race, making no donations or personal endorsements despite a widespread belief that he would have preferred Dewhurst, the establishment favorite.
Yet most GOP senators happily endorse and raise money for fellow incumbents. For instance, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), whose strong tea party backing in his 2010 race has vaulted him into contention for the 2016 GOP presidential primary, has already endorsed Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and has allowed Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to air ads with Paul touting their work together on fishing issues.
As for Cruz, he appears to be making a distinction between financial support and an actual endorsement. Lee, who ousted an incumbent in a 2010 primary, has been making similar distinctions. He and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) hosted McConnell at a Salt Lake City fundraising event earlier this month, but Lee said that was not itself an endorsement.
I expect Cornyn to easily win reelection and I’m betting that Cruz feels the same way. Why not come out and endorse? Because he doesn’t have to.
2. Voter ID This Week (link)
Unless a judge steps in, Voter ID in Texas will be put to the test. The first city to see Voter ID enforced in Texas will be Edinburg.
Unless a federal judge intervenes, the South Texas city of Edinburg could be the first to enforce a new voter ID law next week, and lawyers will likely use the special election to gather evidence to strengthen lawsuits to block it in the future.
While the U.S. Justice Department and several civil rights groups have filed federal lawsuits to block the requirement that voters produce a state-issued photo ID, no one as of Friday had asked for a restraining order to stop enforcement of the law. That means it will be in effect when early voting in the city’s special election begins Wednesday.
Allowing Texas to enforce the law could be part of a larger legal strategy to defeat it in the long run.
Texas has been the center of the fight over voting laws after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that Congress must update how it enforces the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Texas is the only state in the last three years where a federal judge has ruled the Legislature intentionally discriminated against minorities.
Federal judges in Corpus Christi are hearing two cases opposing Texas’ voter ID law: One filed in June by Democratic U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the NAACP and Dallas County and a new one filed Thursday by the Justice Department. Both cases will likely be combined by Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, an Obama administration appointee.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott insists there is nothing wrong with the voter ID law and says enforcing it is critical to preventing fraud in upcoming elections. He also points out that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states may require a photo ID to vote.
Opponents, though, say that’s only if the requirement doesn’t make it too difficult for people, particularly minorities, to cast ballots.
Those who brought the lawsuits argue Texas is doing just that by requiring state-issued ID cards. In the past, Texas law has allowed people to vote after showing their voter registration card or state, federal, city and college IDs.
The Justice Department points out that a state-issued ID can only be obtained from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Many counties don’t have a DMV office, or it is only open one or two days a week and never on weekends or after 6 p.m.
The complaint adds that to get a free Election Identification Card, a person must pay either $22 for a certified copy of their birth certificate or $345 for a copy of naturalization and citizenship papers. State data also shows that Hispanic and African-American citizens are more likely not to possess a state-issued ID.
Get ready for the liberals in Texas to go nuts and launch false accusations of voter suppression.
3. Lubbock City Council Changes? (link)
Will the Lubbock City Council meetings have a new schedule? Mayor Glen Robertson wants the council to look into it.
Lubbock’s mayor is looking into ways to spread out portions of the Lubbock City Council meetings to keep them from running late into the night.
Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson has said that he has asked City Attorney Sam Medina to look into having citizen comments on Thursday evenings and then hold the actual Council meeting on Friday mornings.
In a Facebook post, Robertson said:
“After two council meetings that have lasted well into the night, it has become apparent to me that our experiment of having night meetings may be producing some negative results. We are having staff stay until after midnight incurring additional payroll cost, forcing citizens who wish to speak at public hearings for hours upon hours and we are not giving matters the attention they deserve when we go past midnight. As a result, I have asked our City Attorney to see if we could have citizen’s comments on Thursday evenings and recess until Friday mornings for our agenda items. I will be posting an agenda item to discuss our options at the next council meeting. I think it is important for this council to continue to make it easy for the citizens to speak to us, but we must find a way to balance our need to conduct business in a professional and productive manner.”
On another Facebook update late Friday afternoon, Robertson said that he feels that some citizens’ comments tend to cross the line when talking about specific council members.
“We had over 25 people speak at the citizens comment period during last nights council meeting. I am grateful to live in a country where we have the right to speak to and criticize our elected officials. However, I think that we have had several people in the last few meetings cross the line when making very personal statements towards certain Council Members. While I seldom agree with the majority of this Council, I feel it is my duty to ask people to be civil in their comments in Council Chambers. These Council Members make $25.00 per month and devote a tremendous amount of time to fulfill their duties. They were also elected by the majority of the people that voted in their prospective elections. This council has taken several measures to encourage citizen comments and participation and I am simple asking that they be treated with civility and common courtesy. Please understand, I am not asking for you to quit disagreeing or pointing out our mistakes, I just need to bring a more professional environment to our proceedings.”
Personally, I don’t like this idea. While citizens would still be able to speak, they need access to council meetings. Having the meeting on a Friday morning would have an impact on council attendance.
What do you think?
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