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July 14, 2024      9:46 PM

Video: The potential political fallout from Hurricane Beryl

There's not much that surprises Editor Scott Braddock in Texas politics anymore, but his jaw was on the floor when Abbott didn't at least truncate his overseas trip during a hurricane: An agreement to bring 100 jobs to Texas "is a great press release when you don't have millions of people without power in your state."

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July 14, 2024      2:30 PM

Finally in Houston after Hurricane Beryl, Gov. Abbott lashes out at CenterPoint and threatens the company with executive action

Abbott said "Had I been here the entire time, there would be nothing that would be different." The company meantime sped toward an estimated 90 percent restoration of power for its service area by Monday

Finally back from his junket in Asia, Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday afternoon appeared in Houston for the first time since the landfall of Hurricane Beryl. True to form, he seized on the anger Houstonians feel toward the electric utility for the region and threatened executive action against the company.

During a news conference alongside businessman and GOP donor Mattress Mack at Gallery Furniture, Abbott took direct aim at CenterPoint, accusing the company of dereliction in the wake of the storm that left millions without power while Abbott was on an economic development trip – a trip he did not cancel nor truncate to address the disaster which unfolded shortly after he departed.

"Had I been here the entire time, there would be nothing that would be different,” Abbott said after he was asked by a reporter about the overseas trip. He went on to say “there were no unmet needs” after he had just railed about the lack of electricity for millions over the last week. He was referring to the state’s responses to local governments after the storm.

Abbott said he wouldn’t wait until the regular session next year to act. But he did not say anything about calling a special session even as he promised to work with lawmakers to craft legislation aimed at better electric reliability along the hurricane-prone Gulf Coast.

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By Scott Braddock

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July 13, 2024      7:20 PM

Texas Ag Commissioner Miller was at Trump rally when shooting broke out and says it was intense

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller was about 30 feet from former President Donald Trump when shooting broke during a rally in Pennsylvania.

“I never did duck down,” Miller said, adding that he was looking around for the shooter. “I looked around and I was the only standing up, so I probably looked like an idiot,” Miller said.

“I was standing up on the front row as close as you can get,” he said. “A lady behind me caught a stray bullet.” Miller said Trump “looked good after it all quieted down.”

As Trump “waved a fist up in the air” the people around Commissioner Miller started chanting “USA! USA!” he said.

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July 12, 2024      2:59 PM

People on the Move

A staff shakeup, lobby moves, new lobby shop, and more

Now that’s the kind of hurricane you might want to flee the country for if you didn’t have a key leadership role in the region. I’ll leave it at that for now but plan to unload about it in the next edition of the Texas Take Podcast, which will drop here later today. You might have to right click that link and open a new tab. Or you can just search “Texas Take” on your preferred podcast app.

Meantime, there were quite a few significant career moves the last couple of weeks to pass along.

The drill is simple: If you want everyone in the Texas Capitol community to know about your new gig – or for all of them to know about someone else’s new job – send the scoop anytime to ksbraddock@gmail.com. If you could use “POTM” in the subject line, that would rock because it nearly guarantees I won’t mess up and lose track of it.

Thanks so much to all of you who make it possible.

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

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July 11, 2024      4:59 PM

Gov. Patrick blasts President Biden and media over allegation that Texas was slow to ask for federal aid in the wake of Hurricane Beryl

Amid finger pointing over a federal disaster declaration, veterans of hurricane response say the focus now should be restoration of electricity above all else; it appears Abbott left Patrick to fend for himself when the governor departed for Asia, leaving a gap in continuity of governance while a disaster was imminent

He just cannot help but always try to have the last word even when hundreds of thousands of Texans just want to know when their electricity service is going to be restored.

Appearing at a news conference in Houston, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Thursday morning spent most of his time at the microphone angrily pushing back against President Joe Biden’s claim that the Chief Executive Officer of the United States had trouble this week getting in touch with state leadership as Hurricane Beryl ravaged a large swath of Southeast Texas and knocked out power to millions.

President Biden told the Houston Chronicle that it had been difficult to reach Gov. Greg Abbott, who’s gallivanting overseas during a disaster.

Acting Gov. Patrick said flatly that Biden’s claim is a "total lie or he doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing.”

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By Scott Braddock

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July 11, 2024      2:50 PM

In the wake of Hurricane Beryl, coastal utilities update PUC Commissioners about next steps and start looking toward future storm readiness

Centerpoint on the hot seat: “If our customers see crews standing on the side of the road or in their trucks, it may be to cool off, take a break, stay safe”

The Public Utility Commission of Texas heard from utility operators about their disaster response protocols at a meeting today as they struggle to restore power to more than a million people in the Houston region following Hurricane Beryl. Of course, all eyes are on Centerpoint.

"This will be the first step in this process, not the last step," PUCT Chair Thomas Gleeson said at the opening of the meeting. "And we will probably end up filing a report as we head into the legislative session about our learnings and potentially some legislative solutions that we may need."

Representatives from AEP Texas, Texas-New Mexico Power, Entergy Texas and CenterPoint Energy all spoke about their ongoing efforts to restore power to the region.

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By James Russell

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July 11, 2024      2:02 PM

General Investigating Chair Murr says Paxton is wrong to claim another impeachment is imminent

Here is the full statement from Andy Murr, Chair of the Texas House General Investigating Committee:

“No one should assume that Ken Paxton is ever telling the truth. This is the same man that said he didn’t do anything the whistleblowers accused him of doing and later turned completely around and conceded that he did.

There is absolutely no truth to Mr. Paxton’s farfetched fantasy that the House General Investigating Committee is meeting to talk about him.

Our committee’s agenda was never related to the Attorney General; the House General Investigating Committee will be convening on a completely unrelated matter. Consistent with the committee’s longstanding policy to not comment on matters under its jurisdiction, the subject of our hearing remains confidential.”

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July 11, 2024      9:20 AM

Rep. Allred to report a little more than $10 million cash on hand

He raised $10.2 million in the second quarter, per his campaign, which has raised a total of about $38 million so far

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July 10, 2024      7:32 PM

Without saying how he would know, AG Paxton speculates the Texas House General Investigating Committee meeting next week is about impeaching him again

In a Newsmax interview, Paxton said the meeting is "yet another desperate attempt by the Republican establishment to impeach me." A member of the committee, meantime, told the Dallas Morning News that there's no basis for what Paxton is saying

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July 10, 2024      4:30 PM

The receipts show that when Gov. Abbott is in Texas for a hurricane, federal aid is requested much faster

Houston Chronicle Reporter Jeremy Wallace looked at the history and it turns out that in past storms, both Abbott at Gov. Perry requested federal aid the day before landfall of each of them

Well, what do you know?

After President Joe Biden said he was having a hard time tracking down Gov. Greg Abbott – who’s probably sippin’ sake in Japan now – in the wake of Hurricane Beryl, Houston Chronicle reporter Jeremy Wallace looked into how Abbott’s presence in Texas as governor has played out during tropical systems previously.

As it turns out, it matters if he’s in Texas.

In every case, Abbott requested federal disaster relief the day prior to each storm’s landfall on the Texas coast. Acting Gov. Dan Patrick yesterday had said that an assessment needed to be done prior to a request for disaster relief. That’s not true, but Patrick was probably explaining it as best he could after Abbott hung him and the Houston region out to dry.

From Jeremy’s report:

Texas was quick to ask for federal aid when Hurricane Ike hit in 2008, when Hurricane Harvey struck in 2017, and again when Hurricane Hanna touched down in 2020. But that did not happen this year as Hurricane Beryl approached Houston, triggering a round of finger-pointing between the White House and Texas officials over how quickly federal supplies including food, water and generators should have been distributed.

The night before Harvey first made landfall in Texas in 2017, Abbott already had a request signed and submitted to then-President Donald Trump in anticipation of the storm making landfall near Rockport. Days later, the storm hit Houston, dropping more than 50 inches of rain on the city.

In 2020, Abbott requested a major disaster declaration from Trump before Hanna made landfall in South Texas as a Category 1 hurricane.

Abbott's predecessor, Rick Perry, filed a major disaster declaration with then-President George W. Bush on Sept. 12, 2008, the day before Hurricane Ike made landfall in Galveston as a Category 2 storm with 110-mph winds.

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July 10, 2024      11:57 AM

Sen. Cruz to report more than $22 million cash on hand

Across entities, Cruz raised $12.6 million in the second quarter, per his campaign

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July 10, 2024      9:39 AM

Report indicates Paxton assistant subpoenaed by the feds

A source tells Tony Ortiz at Current Revolt that AG Paxton's assistant, George Lane, was subpoenaed by the FBI and may be talking to a federal grand jury in San Antonio

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July 8, 2024      6:55 PM

Listen: This weekend offered a glimpse into the potential future ambitions of Abbott and Patrick

QR Editor Scott Braddock and KFYO radio host Chad Hasty talk about Patrick steering the ship of state while Abbott is in Taiwan during a hurricane in Houston

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