The state’s filing period closed Monday for the March 2018 primaries. Candidates filed for the seven open-seat races and Democrats who filed to challenge Reps. Will Hurd (R-23), John Culberson (R-07) and Pete Sessions (R-32). (Texas Secretary of State)
At least seven Republicans filed for retiring Rep. Joe Barton’s (R) GOP-leaning seat. Five Democrats filed to take on Hurd.
“As state election filings closed on Monday, no less than five Democrats are vying for Culberson’s seat … Meanwhile, five Republicans have filed primary challenges against” Rep. Blake Farenthold (R) “in what remains a GOP stronghold. … By late Monday, at least six Republicans and one Democrat had filed to replace” retiring Rep. Jeb Hensarling’s (R) GOP-leaning seat in his eastern Dallas suburbs. State Sen. Van Taylor (R) was the only Republican to file for retiring Rep. Sam Johnson’s (R) safe, Republican seat in the northern Dallas suburbs.
Rep. Ted Poe (R-02) is retiring from his safe, Republican seat in west Houston and its northern suburbs. State Rep. Kevin Roberts (R), health care executive David Balat (R), former Navy SEAL Daniel Crenshaw (R), businessman Rick Walker (R) , donor Kathaleen Wall (R), investment banker Justin Laurie (R), attorney Malcolm Whittaker, surgeon John Spiers and attorney Jonathan Havens are running.
State Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D) is a favorite in the race to replace Rep. Gene Green (D) in his safe, Democratic seat. But she’ll face some competition. Attorney Roel Garcia (D) “said he’ll stress he’s not a career politician on the campaign trail and offers real change. Besides those two, the race includes” real estate agent Dominique Garcia (D), teacher Hector Morales (D), and health care company CEO Tahir Javed (D).
NEW CANDIDATE. Former state Rep. Norma Chavez (D) entered the race Monday for Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-16) El Paso-based seat. “In 2010, Chávez lost her reelection bid to newcomer Naomi Gonzalez following a bitter campaign during which Chávez drew political backlash after she twice referred to her opponent as a lesbian in public. … Chávez eventually said she regretted making sexuality a campaign issue, but continued to blame the negativity in the campaign on Gonzalez.” (El Paso Times)
“Up until Monday, the Democratic race for O’Rourke’s seat had centered on” former El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar (D), and former El Paso School Board President Dori Fenenbock (D).” (Texas Tribune)
Meanwhile, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer endorsed Escobar on Tuesday morning, praising her “commitment to El Paso and her solid track record of expanding healthcare and standing up for her community is exactly what we need in Washington.” (release)
FARENTHOLD. “[L]egal documents and interviews with former aides suggest an atmosphere in which the congressman set the tone for off-color jokes and inappropriate banter, which flourished among his underlings. Former employees also said that Mr. Farenthold had an explosive temper and often bullied his aides, prompting a high turnover.”
“The congressman, they said, was volatile. When he was angry, they added, Mr. Farenthold would berate them, sometimes sweeping his arm across his desk, knocking its contents to the floor, and threatening to fire people. … The refrigerator in the ‘bullpen’ — the open area where aides worked — was filled with beer, and sometimes happy hour would begin at 4:30 p.m., which his aides called ‘beer-thirty.’” One aide “said women would discuss which male lobbyists had texted them pictures of their genitals, and both men and women would talk about strip clubs and whether certain Fox News anchors had breast implants.” (New York Times)
ON BOARD. Khizr Khan endorsed former State Department official Ed Meier (D) in the crowded Democratic primary to face Rep. Pete Sessions (R-32). (Texas Tribune)
ROY MOORE. Hurd “called Alabama Senate GOP candidate Roy Moore an ‘abomination’ to the Republican Party and said President Trump is wrong to stand with him before Tuesday’s special election.”
Hurd: “And that’s one thing Republicans and Democrats agree on, and the senior senator from Alabama even said that Alabama deserves better and the American people deserve better.” (Washington Examiner)
TX-22. Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls won’t challenge Rep. Pete Olson (R) in 2018. “If he were to run for Congress, he would have to quit his job as sheriff, leaving his family with no income for about a year. Nehls did set up an exploratory committee to look into the possibility of running, but made the decision against it.” (Click 2 Houston)
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Acting DEA head Robert Patterson "told staff Monday he is retiring, saying that running the agency as a temporary fill-in had become 'increasingly challenging.'"
"Top aides to President Donald Trump are planning additional crackdowns on immigration before the November midterms, despite a growing backlash over the administration’s move to separate migrant children from parents at the border. Senior policy adviser Stephen Miller and a team of officials from the Justice Department, Department of Labor, Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of Management and Budget have been quietly meeting for months to find ways to use executive authority and under-the-radar rule changes to strengthen hardline U.S. immigration policies."
"Two longtime associates of President Donald Trump are now acknowledging a previously undisclosed contact in May 2016 with a Russian who they say offered dirt on Hillary Clinton. Roger Stone and Michael Caputo say they forgot to tell investigators about their contact with a Russian national who goes by the name Henry Greenberg — even though they say Greenberg offered to sell incriminating information to the Trump campaign for $2 million."
"As Trump signed a joint statement with Kim Jong Un that offered few details on how the North Korean leader would make good on his vow to denuclearize, Republicans on Capitol Hill said Tuesday that they want and expect the White House to submit any final agreement for their approval." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for any agreement to be in the form of a treaty.
President Trump announced that the United States will suspend "war games" with South Korea, which are "inappropriate" given his meeting with North Korean leader Kim-Jong Un. "We will be stopping the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money," said Trump, "unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should." The military exercises "carried out each year by the US and South Korean militaries have been consistently cited by Pyongyang as a US rehearsal for war, and a reason it needs to build a nuclear arsenal."