Greetings from Charlotte! I am coming to you live from the DNC convention, where Burnt Orange Report will be covering all things Democratic over the next few days. Fellow staffers Karl-Thomas Musselman and Joe Deshotel are also here too, so BOR is well represented in the Queen city.
In the meantime, here’s some of what has been going on at the DNC Tuesday:
Texans are still aglow from Mayor Julian Castro’s keynote address Tuesday. Delegates from across the rest of the nation also seem eager to compliment Texas on promoting a leader to the national stage who isn’t a complete and utter disaster.
Overall, energy is high, and delegates are clearly having fun attending caucus meetings and panel discussions. In addition to the official events at the convention center, there are panels and speakers over at The PPL, and plenty of parties, gatherings, and events thrown by progressive organizations
Austin Independent School District starts back up today. The first day of school should be a joyous (if nerve-wracking) day, but this year students are returning to schools with far fewer teachers as a result of Republican budget cuts during the last Legislative session.
This cycle, Texas Democrats face a number of crucial races that we consider must-win for the future of our state. To help these great candidates raise the funds they need to compete and win, Burnt Orange Report encourages you to donate to our “Burnt Orange to Blue” fundraising page on ActBlue.
Yes! Go Mayor Castro!
San Antonio, one of Texas’ fastest growing cities and the hometown of House Speaker Joe Straus, may approve a tax increase for Pre-K that could signal to Austin that more cuts to education will not be tolerated. In June, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro announced he would propose a 1/8 cent sales tax to pay for full-day Pre-K for low income students. The idea received Republican criticism but last week passed City Council unanimously sending it to the ballot for voter approval in November. A major referendum on the ballot and the keynote speech at Obama’s nomination add up to a big year for the young mayor being groomed as a future statewide candidate.
A federal judge today denied Greg Abbott’s request to stay a court ruling that would have allowed Texas to enforce certain voter registration laws that are among the most restrictive in the country. Texas Democratic Party spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña released the following statement:“Greg Abbott is relentless in his pursuit to disenfranchise Texans. We’re pleased that the court denied Abbott’s request to make our state’s voter registration laws the most restrictive in the country. It’s shameful that Abbott and Texas Republicans are fighting to make it illegal to register eligible citizens. The focus of the state should be to encourage voter participation not to suppress it.”
This cycle, Texas Democrats face a number of crucial races that we at Burnt Orange Report consider must-win for the future of our state. To help these great candidates raise the funds they need to compete and win, today BOR is launching our “Burnt Orange to Blue”fundraising page on ActBlue. Through Labor Day, we’ll be adding the most competitive and must-win races to the list, along with a few races where your funds can have an outsized impact on the outcome of the race.
Today, we’re kicking off the list with three Democrats in high-profile races: two pick-up opportunities in Congress and one must-win race in the State House.
Senator Wendy Davis, SD-10: This champion of public education and healthcare stood firm in support of funding our public schools. She’s being challenged by a Republican pediatrician who has voted against families and public health at almost every opportunity. Senator Davis is our crucial 12th vote in the Senate. We must return this tremendous leader to the Legislature in January, where she can fight Republican extremism and advocate for sound policies that benefit all Texans.
Pete Gallego, CD-23: This distinguished public servant is making his first run for Congress, and represents an excellent opportunity to oust a terrible Republican and help Democrats take back the US House of Representatives. Gallego faces Republican incumbent Quico Canseco, who votes against first responders and hobnobs with lobbyists rather than deal with constituents’ concerns. Help Pete Gallego win this sprawling west Texas majority-Latino district.
Nick Lampson, CD-14: This former representative has a distinguished record of constituent service in Congress. Now he’s running in a radically redrawn 14th district anchored in his native Beaumont. This is a huge pick-up opportunity for Democrats in Texas, and Lampson is running a strong campaign. Give Nick Lampson the resources he needs to defeat right-winger Randy Weber.
All money donated through ActBlue flows directly to the candidates. Donate securely online. Can’t give a lot? Then make it a recurring donation, so our Democratic candidates have the funds they need to make it through to November. Now that the primaries are behind us, it’s time to get down to business of winning these crucial races.
We will be adding more candidates to this list over the next month, and we’ll even have a chance for you to vote your favorite candidate into the list, so keep an eye on BOR to help your top Democrats win.
Today the DNC announced that San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will deliver the keynote address Sept. 4th at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Currently the youngest mayor of a major US city, he will be the first hispanic to deliver the speech and it comes in a year when the Latino vote is expected to make a great impact in swing states particularly Colorado and Florida. In 2004 Barack Obama used this same opportunity to enter the national stage suggesting that Castro is not only being considered the future of the Texas Democratic party but the national party as well. The last Texan to deliver the keynote address was Ann Richards in 1988.
His twin brother Joaquin will enter Congress next year and both are thought to have bright political futures ahead of them. Castro has indicated that he plans to remain in the Mayor’s office until 2017 but after delivering an inspiring speech at the Texas Democratic Party state convention in Houston earlier this summer many Democrats don’t intend to wait that long before pressuring him to run for federal or statewide office. One example of his leadership came earlier this year when amid state and national conversations about budget cuts the Mayor actually proposed a tax increase to fund Pre-K for low income children in San Antonio.
Today is election day and Texan’s will have an opportunity to send the first hispanic ever to represent Texas in the US Senate- as a Republican. Ted Cruz, positioning himself as a darling of the Tea Party is thought to be more radical and possibly easier to defeat in the next cycle over more moderate Dewhurst. Either candidate is likely to face and predicted to beat an underfunded Paul Sadler in the Nov. general election. As the demographics continue to shift in Texas it may actually become more difficult to unseat an incumbent hispanic particularly if he evolves into a more mainstream politician as Dewhurst suggests with his “D.C. PAC Man” and “TeDCruz” ads.
Democrats may lose the honor of electing the first hispanic Senator from Texas but some see an opportunity in the future to elect the first hispanic President. Earlier this month at a fundraiser in San Antonio President Obama said, “You’re not considered one of the battleground states, although that’s going to be changing soon,”. Could this have been foreshadowing of the role the Castros might play in that trasnformation? In today’s video announcement Mayor Castro said, “Being the keynote speaker this year is an honor I don’t take lightly. I know Ive got some big shoes to fill. Two conventions ago the keynote speaker was a guy named Barack Obama. I remember watching his speech in 2004 and being inspired.”
See the video announcement here.
At long last, on this 31st day of July, our Texas primary season will conclude with some lingering runoffs.
Polls close at 7:00 p.m. If you are in line at 7:00 you will be allowed to vote. Early vote should be in shortly after 7:00 p.m. Election Day results will trickle in throughout the night.