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January 24, 2020      1:16 PM

People on the Move

Appointments, lobby hires, a new leadership team, and more

Looking forward to seeing doctors from all over the Great State tonight at the Texas Medical Association’s meeting here in Austin. The docs are never shy with opinions and great questions for your editor. I might even have an answer or two.

It kind of feels like November with so many people voting early in that special election in Fort Bend County where the “false attacks” about “false attacks” are flying on TV and block walkers on both sides are working overtime to git ‘er done. A friend said they’d “eat a hat” if the Republican wins by a substantial margin. Does anyone know if Tiff’s Treats or some other company will make some custom cowboy hat shaped cookies? Surely someone does that around here.

Meantime, there’s career news to share here in the pages of Quorum Report. Last week, after POTM was published, a staffer texted “I wanted to be in the POTM but I didn’t get the job.” Keep swinging, you’re doing great. You know the drill: When you do land the gig – or someone else did and you want to gossip about them – send the info on over to ksbraddock@gmail.com and use POTM in the subject line. You’re all the best.

Here’s the latest edition of People on the Move:

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By Scott Braddock

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January 23, 2020      3:42 PM

Top tax policy Republicans remain miffed at TML and TAC after battles over property taxes and what they call interference

If conservatives got everything they wanted on revenue caps last session, why do they continue to express frustration with the Texas Association of Counties and Texas Municipal League?

Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, was joined by Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, and Rep. Andrew Murr, R-Junction, on a property tax panel at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Policy Orientation on Wednesday. Senior fellow Ellen Troxclair moderated the panel.

“I know the bill is already working because the panic among some of the taxing entities is preposterously high,” Chair Bettencourt told the audience. “After five years of good behavior, Travis County decided to juice their rate, and the City of Austin is always there, going to the maximum of the rollback rate. El Paso raised its tax rates – by 10 pennies – more than ISDs cut from HB 3.”

Burrows said he promised Bettencourt he would pass the most conservative version of the Senate Bill 2 that could possibly pass the House.

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By Kimberly Reeves

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January 23, 2020      2:01 PM

Lt. Gov. Patrick says he is considering going to simple majority for moving bills in the Texas Senate

"If we are still the majority but the minority has the power to overrule us, we cannot let that stand," he said at TPPF event

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January 22, 2020      4:00 PM

8-day reports coming in now for three Texas House special elections

Five of the six reports now online; in addition to the Fort Bend throwdown, Republicans are trying to make inroads in one district and a Democratic intraparty fight is playing out in another

We’re now just under a week to go before voters make their final decisions to fill the unexpired terms of three former members of the Texas House.

The nation’s eyes are fixed on the House District 28 race in Fort Bend to pick a successor to former Appropriations Committee Chairman John Zerwas. NBC News and the Associated Press ran national stories about that race over the weekend, thanks in large part to former Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s involvement. Sen. Elizabeth Warren endorsed the Democrat yesterday, becoming the latest of the White House contender to take an interest in West Houston and Katy.

The two other races – in Houston and Dallas – feature Republicans trying to make inroads in one district and a Democratic intraparty fight in another.

In that Fort Bend race, both candidates were the beneficiaries of large in-kind donations.

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By James Russell

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January 22, 2020      3:35 PM

GOP internal poll shows Gates up 13 points over Markowitz in Fort Bend County Texas House special election

It’s fair to say the district’s electorate will likely not perform the same as other “suburban” communities where Democrats have a better shot this fall; Democrats maintain “we have one of the best data teams in the country who put us in a significantly better place than in the first round of voting for the November election so far"

New poll numbers are coming to light – and early voting numbers are coming in – that may dampen the spirits of Democrats working overtime to flip the Fort Bend County Texas House seat vacated last year by former Appropriations Committee Chairman John Zerwas.

The numbers in an internal poll conducted for the campaign of Republican candidate Gary Gates were reviewed by Quorum Report. The pollster who did the work is reputable and has a reliable track record. That said, seasoned political observers are quick to point out that polling in a special election presents specific challenges.

These poll numbers show Gates leading Democrat Dr. Eliz Markowitz by a substantial margin and they reveal an electorate that is probably not representative of the kind of district where Democrats may have much better chances of flipping Texas House seats this fall. That’s part of why no one should ever read too much into one poll or overanalyze the results of a single special election. Yes, dear reader, you are correct that literally nothing could be said now to prevent the latter from happening one week from today.

Now, to the numbers:

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By Scott Braddock

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January 22, 2020      12:49 PM

Texas Realtors release watch list of primary races

Sen. Lucio's challenge, Chair Flynn, Sheffield, and others top the list of races to watch, per the powerful association

The Texas REALTORS® hot list of races to watch in the primaries is right here.

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January 21, 2020      5:01 PM

Lt. Gov. Patrick appoints Fallon, Lucio, and Paxton to Sunset Commission

The full announcement from the Office of the Lt. Governor is right here.

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January 21, 2020      4:45 PM

Elizabeth Warren endorses Markowitz in Fort Bend Texas House special election

Meantime Abbott blasts Markowitz supporter Beto O'Rourke as a gun grabber; already today the 5 early voting locations open *only* for the HD28 special election have voted more people than 23 sites countywide did all day on the 1st day of early vote in November

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January 20, 2020      4:31 PM

Republicans to bus block walkers in from all over Texas for Fort Bend special election, apparently organized by Abbott campaign

Invitation to block walk for Gates says: "Hello, what do we have here? Free room, board, and travel? ...Yes, it's all true!" Folks are asked to RSVP to a Greg Abbott staffer's email address to block walk all next weekend

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January 20, 2020      3:28 PM

Braddock on Radio: Fort Bend special election a long shot for Democrats, but a shot worth taking

Editor Scott Braddock and KFYO radio host Chad Hasty kick off the week breaking down the special election, President Trump's Texas visit, and more

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January 17, 2020      2:00 PM

Campaign finance reports reveal disjointed efforts in battle for Texas House majority

Both Republicans and Democrats have several different efforts underway; Dems see significant resources pouring in while Republicans post Bonnen collapse lack a centralized structure for allocation of resources

The fallout from the audio recording of Speaker Dennis Bonnen disparaging local officials, Democrats and targeting members of his own party in a discussion with Empower Texans spokesman Michael Quinn Sullivan seems to have meant mutually assured destruction. Bonnen is retiring and Empower seems to be off the battlefield in GOP primaries.

Republicans and Democrats, for the most part in Texas House races, seem intent on having most of the fights play out in November rather than March. And there are somewhat disjointed efforts aimed at either flipping the lower chamber to the Democrats or preserving the Republican majority.

Let’s dig into the numbers.

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By James Russell

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January 17, 2020      1:32 PM

People on the Move

Lobby moves, new hires, new projects, and more

The first unmarked envelope of 2020 from a campaign – or at least, tangentially connected to a campaign – has arrived at the Quorum Report offices. Primary season must be really be starting now.Stressed out, getting fat, it’s campaign season,” said one veteran staffer. Relatable.

With a little more than 6 weeks between now and election day, it’s time to put miles on the truck heading to Houston, Dallas, South Texas, and elsewhere. Feels good to be on the road again.

Meantime, the career news is coming faster and furiouser (if that’s a word) as movers and shakers settle into new roles in the Texas Capitol community. Let us know what’s happening anytime by emailing career news to ksbraddock@gmail.com. If you could use POTM in the subject line, that would be great. And to move swiftly to the front of the line, put the text of your announcement right in the email rather than attaching a file. Thanks so much.

Here’s the latest edition of People on the Move.

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By Scott Braddock

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January 17, 2020      9:39 AM

Bonnen appoints Rep. Capriglione as new Texas House Appropriations Chairman

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