Here’s the latest news out of Texas:

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is ramping up his campaign for reelection by touting his conservative credentials, warning against a socialist takeover and raising money in anticipation of a bruising 2022 battle with former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

Abbott crystalized his strategy in a Tuesday telethon-styled fundraiser that masqueraded as a town hall meeting.

His message as he pleaded for campaign cash: The socialists are coming.

“Whichever socialist they put up, we’re going to defeat,” Abbott said. “We’re fighting against more than just people on the other side, we’re fighting an ideology, an ideology and is trying to ruin Texas and ruin the United States of America. And it’s a fight that I can’t wage alone.”

Here’s the kicker:

Meanwhile, Texans are waiting to see if Academy-Award winning actor Matthew McConaughey runs for governor. The potential populist figure has not chosen a party affiliation.

“Abbott, no matter what’s going on, is always raising money,” said Democratic Party strategist Matt Angle. “He knows that every time he mentions Beto O’Rourke’s name he gets Republican Trumpers reaching for their wallets.”

Angle said contrary to the Republican narrative, Abbott is vulnerable. He points to the failure of Texas’ electric grid during the February winter storm as evidence. It resulted in the deaths of …and power outages across the state. Angle added that Abbott’s outreach to Trump voters doesn’t help his standing with moderates.

“He’s been exposed and folks are seeing through his veneer of competency and veneer of moderation,” Angle said.

Quinnipiac University’s latest poll went into the field in Texas and here’s what they found:

Governor Greg Abbott receives a mixed job approval rating as 48 percent of Texas voters approve of the job he’s doing and 46 percent disapprove. This is little changed from his 48 – 44 percent job approval rating in July of 2020. Today’s disapproval rating is the highest for Abbott since being elected in 2018. Other job approvals are mostly mixed…

  • Texas State Legislature: 41 percent approve, 47 percent disapprove, with 12 percent not offering an opinion;
  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton: 41 percent approve, 39 percent disapprove, with 20 percent not offering an opinion;
  • Sen. Ted Cruz: 46 percent approve, 49 percent disapprove, with 5 percent not offering an opinion;
  • Sen. John Cornyn: 41 percent approve, 42 percent disapprove, with 17 percent not offering an opinion;
  • President Joe Biden: 45 percent approve, 50 percent disapprove, with 5 percent not offering an opinion.

Now to be fair, their poll didn’t find great numbers for O’Rourke running for Governor but it’s clear that he’s having an impact on this race whether he’s a candidate or not.

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Abbott isn’t giving up on trying to suppress the vote:

Gov. Greg Abbott has set a special session of the Texas Legislature starting July 8, his office announced Tuesday.

Abbott’s office did not specify what legislative priorities will be included on the special session agenda and said in an advisory that such items “will be announced prior to the convening of the special session.”

Abbott has already said that he plans to ask state lawmakers to work on two priority elections and bail bills that died in the final hours of the regular legislative session after House Democrats walked out of the chamber.

More recently, Abbott has said the agenda for the Legislature’s overtime round will also include further restricting in schools the teaching of critical race theory, which refers to an academic discipline that explores the role racism plays in institutions and structures of governance. And during a teletownhall with supporters Tuesday evening, Abbott said he would add a call for legislation that would prevent certain social media companies from blocking or banning users based on their viewpoints. Legislation that sought to do so died during the regular session.

The GOP priority elections bill, known during the regular session as Senate Bill 7, was a sweeping piece of legislation that would have created new limitations to early voting hours and curbed local voting options like drive-thru voting, among other things.

Also, Texas Democrats are hitting back:

A group that includes Texas House Democrats and legislative staffers is asking the Texas Supreme Court to override Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent veto of a portion of the state budget that funds the Legislature, staffers there and legislative agencies.

More than 50 Democratic members of the House signed a petition for a writ of mandamus, which was filed Friday morning, as did the House Democratic Caucus and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, four state employees, and the Texas AFL-CIO.

“The state is in a constitutional crisis at this moment,” said Chad Dunn, an attorney involved with the petition, during a briefing with reporters Thursday.

The governor had vowed to veto the Legislature’s funding in the final hours of the regular legislative session in May after House Democrats broke quorum and left the chamber to prevent passage of a controversial elections bill. That legislation, an Abbott priority, would have created new limitations to early voting hours, increased voting-by-mail restrictions and curbed local voting options.

The petition argues that Abbott exceeded his executive authority and violated the state’s separation of powers doctrine. The parties involved with the petition are asking the all-Republican court to find Abbott’s veto unconstitutional, which would allow Article X of the state budget, the section at issue, to become law later this year.

“Governor Abbott’s veto is an attempt to coerce, and thereby direct, how the Legislature discharges its functions — far exceeding the usual mechanism of the veto as a check on legislative excess,” the petition says. “If accepted, it would allow the governor to indirectly commandeer the Legislature by making its very existence contingent on its willingness to enact the governor’s preferred agenda. And it would set the precedent for the governor to do the same to the judiciary.”

It remains to be seen what O’Rourke will do next but one thing is for sure, he’s not giving up on registering voters and educating them. Received this e-mail yesterday form O’Rourke’s organization, Powered by People:

The For the People Act – the bill we urgently need in order to address voter suppression – is currently in jeopardy because of the Senate filibuster. This week, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans blocked the bill from even being debated on the Senate floor.

But no matter what happened in the Senate this week or what will happen next week, we won’t give in or give up.

Beto and Powered by People volunteers from across Texas are keeping up the fight. We’re knocking on doors and talking to voters, becoming Volunteer Deputy Registrars (VDRs), and registering every new voter we meet in our communities.

Beto talking with voter

If you want to be a part of this on-the-ground work to register hundreds of thousands of new voters, flip Texas blue, and generate momentum around voting rights nationwide, will you chip in $3 or more now?

Contribute $3

Our democracy is at stake and Texas is at the center of this fight. In the past year alone, we’ve seen a deadly insurrection attempt on January 6 and the introduction of over 380 bills in 48 states to restrict voting rights. In Texas, Republicans are working to restrict our right to vote – but ignoring the issues that matter to Texans, like fixing the power grid.

This moment requires leadership, teamwork, and grit. Powered by People volunteers are already stepping up to the task in Texas. Now, we need our national leaders to rise to the occasion and abolish the filibuster. Simply put, it’s the filibuster or democracy.

Powered by People will keep fighting for our democracy on all fronts, but we need your support. As Beto said: Keep the faith, never give up the fight, and let’s go out there and win this thing.

Please, donate $3 or more to support Powered by People’s work to register new voters, fight against voter suppression, and protect our democracy.

Thanks for your support,

Powered by People

Click here to donate to Powered by People’s efforts.

Democracy is on the ballot and we can’t let our guard down. Click below to donate and get involved with these Texas Democratic Groups:

Texas Democratic Party

Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee

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