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Journal Archives

Democrats see chance to oust up to 3 GOP Texas senators

Voters will choose 15 Texas senators on Nov. 6, but only two seats — both held by Republicans — appear up for grabs, with Democrats nursing slim hopes of taking out a third GOP incumbent on Election Day.

With early voting set to begin Monday, Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, is the most vulnerable of the three GOP incumbents in a district where demographic changes have been working in favor of Democrats over the past several years, strategists from both parties agree.

Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, also is involved in a close race in the only Texas Senate district drawn in 2011 to provide neither party with a solid majority of voter support, the strategists said.

The third Republican incumbent, Sen. Joan Huffman of Houston, is much more of a long shot for Democrats to defeat, requiring a higher degree of anti-President Donald Trump sentiment than is currently apparent in Texas, they said.

Read more: https://www.statesman.com/news/20181015/democrats-see-chance-to-oust-up-to-3-gop-texas-senators

Dolores Huerta is Still Knocking on Doors and Registering Voters at 88

At 88, Dolores Huerta is still making you look bad.

In 1962, Huerta and César Chávez co-founded the organization that would become the United Farm Workers, then led the legendary grape strike and boycott that resulted in the first farmworker union contracts in American history. Huerta wrung protections for farmworkers from Congress and the State of California while also raising 11 children. The iconic slogan “sí se puede”? That’s hers. Later, she turned to electoral activism, recruiting female candidates to run in 1992, the first “year of the woman.” Today, the octogenarian is president of her eponymous foundation, serves on the boards of at least three other activist organizations, and is now traveling around the country to turn out the Latino vote in the November midterms.

Despite a persistent drizzle, she took to an outdoor stage on Tuesday in an East Austin park, a mural behind her depicting Chávez, Emiliano Zapata and others. Huerta talked about the importance of voting, then led a chant. “Who’s got the power?” she asked, her voice full and strong. “We’ve got the power!” answered the small crowd. “We’re going to say it real loud,” Huerta added. “So the racists, the neo-Nazis, the alt-right, the homophobes, all the haters hear us.”

Huerta and the crowd then went to knock doors and register voters. The Observer caught up with her to talk about the Latino vote, Chicano history and activism today.

Read more: https://www.texasobserver.org/dolores-huerta-is-still-knocking-on-doors-and-registering-voters-at-88/

Rockdale: The Tiny Texas Town That's Turning To Bitmining

Rockdale, Texas, was chosen as the site for what some describe as the biggest bitcoin mine in the country. A Chinese company plans on bringing 400 jobs, while investing $500 million in the mine, which is where rows of computer processors solve complex computations and are awarded digital currency. This comes after a series of booms and busts for this town of 5,600 people.

Last year, the power plant that had been limping along closed. Between the smelter and the plant 1,700 jobs were gone. The largest employers in Milam County were now closed, and it lost 30 percent of its tax revenue.

“It made a hit on Rockdale. It hit us hard,” Charles Miles said. “You lose people. You lose income. You lose tax base. You lose a lot.”

Miles owns Miles Styles in downtown Rockdale, a barbershop surrounded by more than a few empty storefronts displaying “for rent” sign — something Miles says has only happened since Alcoa left.

Read more: http://www.tpr.org/post/rockdale-tiny-texas-town-thats-turning-bitmining

Retirement of Long-Time Fort Bend County DA Creates Rare Opening for Democrats

Voters in Fort Bend County will soon choose a new district attorney. The current county DA, Republican John Healey, is retiring after 26 years. The race to replace Healey could be a close one.

Retired District Judge Cliff Vacek is the Republican nominee. His Democratic opponent, Brian Middleton, is a former assistant Fort Bend County DA.

“If you knew nothing about these two gentlemen, you’d say they’re both qualified for the office of district attorney,” said Rice University political scientist Bob Stein.

Fort Bend voters tend to support incumbents, particularly Republican incumbents. But with Healey off the ballot, the county’s diversity could help Middleton.

Read more: https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2018/10/15/308105/retirement-of-long-time-fort-bend-county-da-creates-rare-opening-for-democrats/

Libertarian Candidate Files Federal Complaint Against Beto O'Rourke and CNN

In what he is calling the largest single campaign complaint in history, Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Neal Dikeman is alleging that a planned town hall meeting by CNN amounts to an illegal $10 million in-kind campaign contribution to Democrat Beto O’Rourke.

Dikeman filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission on the heels of news last week that O’Rourke shattered fundraising records with a $38.1 million take in the final quarter before the November 6 election. Dikeman alleges in his complaint that a town hall scheduled for Thursday in McAllen violates federal election law because it will give O’Rourke an hour-long prime time forum worth millions of advertising dollars.

“Politics should not be about money, and corporations should not be funding politicians,” Dikeman said in a prepared statement. “Particularly in this race as Congressman O’Rourke is running fundraising campaigns touting his exclusion of special interest money. Excluding a Libertarian nominee from the debates because you think I’ll take more votes from you than the other guy is one thing, politics is politics. But violating campaign finance laws, especially on this scale is much bigger than that. The scope of this violation should give every American pause.”

Neither the O’Rourke or Cruz campaigns responded to a Texas Monthly request for comment.

Read more: https://www.texasmonthly.com/politics/libertarian-candidate-files-federal-complaint-beto-orourke-cnn/

LGBTQ Victory Fund Demands NRCC Stop Using Stolen, Doctored Video of Gina Ortiz Jones

The LGBTQ Victory Fund has sent a cease and desist letter to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) demanding that it stop airing “a false advertisement” that includes footage from a speech delivered by Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones in April.

The NRCC is using the footage, taken from Jones’ speech at the Victory Fund’s National Champagne Brunch in Washington, in an ad (above) supporting Republican incumbent Will Hurd. During the speech, Ortiz Jones told the crowd to “drink another mimosa” and “write another check.”

The Victory Fund accused the NRCC of copyright infringement, and said the House GOP’s campaign arm distorted the meaning of the footage to mislead voters. Ortiz Jones is vying to become the first LGBTQ person elected to Congress from Texas.

“Gina attended our event and gave a powerful speech about how being a child of immigrants and serving under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ have fueled her desire to make a difference for average Americans,” said former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund. “The NRCC and Will Hurd apparently find no moral obligation to be truthful – purposefully distorting Gina’s deeply personal speech to mislead voters. We have ordered the NRCC to end all use of the attack ad immediately because of the unauthorized misuse of our copyrighted material.

Read more: http://www.outsmartmagazine.com/2018/10/lgbtq-victory-fund-demands-rncc-stop-using-stolen-doctored-video-from-houston-brunch/

Texas pilot sentenced to 5 years, ordered to pay $988K in restitution for wire fraud and arson

Texas pilot sentenced to 5 years in federal prison, ordered to pay $988K in restitution for wire fraud and arson conspiracies

TYLER -- A 33-year-old pilot, formerly of Kemah, was sentenced to more than five years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $988,000 in restitution for conspiring to commit wire fraud and arson in the Eastern District of Texas.

Theodore Robert Wright III pleaded guilty to the charges on Dec. 7, 2017. He was sentenced in federal court on Oct. 4, according to a news release from the court.

The news release said Wright led a multijurisdictional fraud and arson scheme that stretched from Hawaii to the Gulf of Mexico and involved the destruction of luxury goods, including vehicles, aircraft and water vessels, according to information presented in court.

Wright and his co-conspirators, Shane Gordon, 46, and Raymond Fosdick, 42, both of Houston, and Edward Delima, 42, of Honolulu, acquired luxury goods and obtained insurance coverage for those goods in amounts exceeding the purchase prices. Wright and his co-conspirators then devised and carried out schemes to destroy those goods and defraud insurance companies.

Read more: https://tylerpaper.com/news/local/texas-pilot-sentenced-to-years-in-federal-prison-ordered-to/article_e739f87e-d098-11e8-86a3-bfe26a0b0777.html

Cruz, O'Rourke debate may be last chance for big moment

HOUSTON (AP) — Frank Randazzo, a retiree near Houston, volunteers for his local GOP office knocking on doors of undecided voters amid the most expensive U.S. Senate race in the country. He did a double take when a man with a Beto O'Rourke sign in his yard declared he was voting Republican.

"He told me to ignore the sign. It was his wife's," Randazzo said.

Tuesday night is the last televised debate in Texas between O'Rourke and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, and from national polls to divided households in conservative suburbs, the indications are of a close race with just three weeks until Election Day. But what hasn't been seen so far are major missteps or race-altering moments.

Neither side is betting on one down the stretch. For O'Rourke, who last week announced a record-shattering fundraising haul of $38 million from supporters nationwide, the debate in San Antonio presents his last best chance to give Cruz supporters any misgivings. The El Paso congressman has run against politics as usual and campaign mudslinging, but O'Rourke is also sharpening his tone amid new polls that suggest his rise may be hitting a ceiling for a Democrat in Texas.

Read more: https://www.oaoa.com/news/us_news/article_91926f71-c806-56c8-96de-ca000da8f1ba.html
(Odessa American)

3 Nebraska farmers to plead guilty in $10.9 million organic grain fraud scheme

IOWA CITY — Three Nebraska farmers will plead guilty to knowingly marketing non-organic corn and soybeans as certified organic as part of a lengthy, multi-million-dollar fraud scheme, federal prosecutors revealed Thursday.

Tom Brennan, his son James Brennan and family friend Michael Potter have each agreed to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud. Their plea hearings are scheduled for Friday in federal court in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Prosecutors allege that the three conspired with the owner of a large Iowa-based company to dupe customers nationwide who thought they were buying grains that had been grown using environmentally sustainable practices.

All three operated an organic farm in Overton, Nebraska, that was certified through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program, which requires crops to be grown without the use of fertilizers, sewage sludge and other substances. They also farmed other fields that weren't certified.

Read more: https://www.kearneyhub.com/news/state/nebraska-farmers-to-plead-guilty-in-million-organic-grain-fraud/article_2611fd5c-ce29-11e8-931f-0f8e3f3dfe24.html

Two seeking to unseat Fischer in U.S. Senate race

Affordable health care is one of the issues Democrat Jane Raybould said she believes is a priority that needs to be addressed in Washington, as well.

“It’s critical we tackle the health care crisis,” Raybould said.

Raybould is a fourth-generation Nebraskan and second-generation grocer who serves on the Lincoln City Council and is a former commissioner for Lancaster County.

Raybould said she believes insurance markets must be stabilized to keep premiums from skyrocketing further.

Read more: http://norfolkdailynews.com/news/two-seeking-to-unseat-fischer-in-u-s-senate-race/article_c10a2d30-d085-11e8-8aa5-f7b569a80490.html
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