CRANDALL — If you thought you’d seen the last of Victor Morales, think again. The man whose 1996 grassroots Cinderella campaign waged from a white pickup truck against U.S. Senator Phil Gramm surprised the state’s political establishment is back. Morales, a Democrat, is considering a run against State Rep. Betty Brown (R-Terrell), in Texas House District 4, which covers Henderson and Kaufman Counties. Brown, an ally of House Speaker Tom Craddick (R-Midland), has already drawn one GOP primary opponent. It would be Morales’s second race in two years, after his unsuccessful bid for a seat in Congress during the 2006 Democratic Primary in Congressional District 28.
RICHARDSON — Attorney Jim Shepherd has thrown his hat into the ring to succeed retiring State Rep. Fred Hill (R-Richardson) in House District 112. The field already includes Angie Chen Button, a marketing manager for Texas Instruments and former Garland City Councilman Randall Dunning. Shepherd, a Republican, has served terms on both the Richardson City Council and Richardson ISD Board of Trustees.
KINGWOOD — Dr. Diane Trautman announced Saturday that she will make another run against State Rep. Joe Crabb, a Kingwood Republican in House District 127 in Harris County, near Houston. Trautman lost to Crabb in 2006.
SAN ANTONIO — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will headline a fundraiser for Congressman Ciro Rodriguez Saturday at the home of attorney Frank Herrera. Rodriguez, a San Antonio Democrat, is near the top of the list of national Republicans’ Congressional race targets for 2008. Rodriguez defeated former Congressman Henry Bonilla (R-San Antonio) in a run-off election last year after the U.S. Supreme Court declared the makeup of several Texas congressional districts unconstitutional and ordered new elections.
HOUSTON — Although San Antonio attorney Mikal Watts dropped out of the race for the Democratic Party’s nomination for U.S. Senate, the race continues to make news. Last week, retired General Wesley Clark, a former presidential candidate and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, endorsed Houston State Representative and Lt. Col. Rick Noriega. Noriega also gained some company in the Democratic Primary in the form of Ray McMurrey, a Corpus Christi educator. McMurrey initially planned a run as an Independent, but will make a formal announcement this weekend that he is running as a Democrat.
HOUSTON — Nearly 60 independent school districts across Texas had bond packages before voters last Tuesday. Most fared well, with the vast majority of even the largest 20 bond packages getting passing marks from voters. The largest was an $807-million dollar proposal voted on by residents in the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD near Houston, which passed.
AUSTIN — Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama is planning a return visit to Austin this Saturday for a $25-per-person fund-raiser at music venue the Backyard. An Obama rally held in the capitol city earlier this year was one of the largest of its kind in recent memory. Obama ranks third in fund-raising in Texas, behind former North Carolina Senator John Edwards and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
HOUSTON — A federal lawsuit filed against Sharon Keller, presiding judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, for allegedly violating the civil rights of convicted murderer Michael Richard by thwarting an eleventh-hour appeal when she ordered the court’s offices to close at 5 p.m. on the day of his execution, was voluntarily dismissed late last week. Randall Kallinen, the attorney who filed the suit, has told the media he wants the lawsuit moved to Austin, where Keller’s court sits.
SAN ANTONIO — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is seeking the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, will visit San Antonio for a fund-raiser at the tony Westin LaCantera Resort on November 19.
HOLLYWOOD, CA — U.S. Senator John Cornyn is reportedly close to inking a deal with Hollywood-based Strategic Perception, Inc. to handle television media production for his 2008 re-election campaign. The firm includes Bill Kenyon, an Austinite who advised former Republican gubernatorial nominee Clayton Williams in 1990. The firm recently handled television advertising duties for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s re-election campaign last year. This year, the firm will also reportedly work for U.S. Senators Elizabeth Dole and Lamar Alexander, Republicans from North Carolina and Tennessee respectively.