COVID Cases Fall, Hospitalizations Steady

New infections continue a slow and steady decline with 2,112 cases reported by the state yesterday.   This is down from the 2,800 reported one week ago.  Hospitalizations are remaining steady, but falling slightly as well. The state is reporting 2,074 people hospitalized with COVID illness.  That down slightly from the 2,250 reported one week ago.

Hispanics Now Largest Demographic in State

New data released by the US Census Bureau last week show that the Hispanic/Latino population is now the largest demographic group in the state.  This is according to the American Communities Survey which is conducted annually by the Census Bureau to obtain population estimates since the official census is only conducted once every ten years. The overall state population is now at an estimated 29.5 million.  The survey now estimates the Latino population in the state to be 11.9 million — or roughly 40% of the state’s population — surpassing the Anglo population of 11.6 million.  Mexican Americans make up the vast majority of the Latino population with an estimated 9.7 million people.  African-Americans make up roughly 4 million of the state’s population, Asian-Americans have a population of 1.8 million, and roughly 1 million identify as multi-racial.

Governor’s Race

Another new poll was just released on the Governor’s race and it shows Gov. Abbott widening his lead over challenger Beto O’Rourke.  The Dallas Morning News/UT Tyler poll released yesterday shows Abbott with a 8 point lead now, at 47% to 39%.  Some recent polls showed the race tightening to as little as 5 points.  But it seems that Abbott – along with the other statewide Republican elected officials – is growing his lead over the Democratic rivals.  Lt. Governor Patrick now leads Democrat Mike Collier by a 9 point margin at 39% to 28%.  And, Attorney General Ken Paxton – who was shown to be in a statistical tie with Democrat Rochelle Garza in previous polls – has opened up a 7 point lead with 37% of the respondents compared to 30% for Garza.  Both the AG’s race and Lt. Governor’s races still have a large number of undecideds, but the trend is clearly headed in the favorable direction for the Republican ticket.  The poll was conducted from September 6th to 13th among 1,268 registered voters.  Full results of the poll can be found here:

Gov. Abbott is blasting the O’Rourke campaign for “going Hollywood”, which is a reference to two fundraisers for O’Rourke among the acting community.  Last week, O’Rourke raised an estimated $4 million at a fundraiser in Los Angeles hosted by the likes of Jimmy Kimmel, Meg Ryan, and Gwenyth Paltrow. He is also scheduled to have a fundraiser in New York later this week hosted at the home of actors Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick.  Abbott for his part, has not turned down money from Californians, having raised nearly $2 million from California residents since June of 2021, including Lakers basketball team owner Ed Roski.

Border News

In the past 11 months, US Customs and Border Patrol made more than 2 million arrests along the US border with Mexico, marking the highest number of arrests in an annual period.  That number exceeds the 1.7 million arrests made the previous year.  In August alone, CBP officials detained 203,598 migrants crossing from Mexico.

Gov. Abbott, along with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, is ramping up the shipment of migrants out of state.  Last week, the Florida Governor chartered a plane to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts that flew nearly 48 migrants from Venezuela to the northeast vacation destination.  Also last week, Gov. Abbott sent two buses of migrants that dropped off dozens of migrants, mostly from Nicaragua in front of Vice-President Kamala Harris’ DC residence.  Once the buses arrived, Abbott eagerly took credit, saying that since “Harris is the border czar and has yet to visit the border, we will make sure she sees it first hand.”

The League of United Latin American Citizens has vowed to begin a human blockade in an effort to stop the busing of migrants out of state.  The group says it will assemble in Eagle Pass and Del Rio to try and stop the buses from leaving.  The Eagle Pass and Del Rio region is by far the busiest region for illegal crossings along the entire US/Mexico border.

California Governor Gavin Newsome has asked the federal Department of Justice to investigate Governor Abbott for his actions, claiming that busing is inhumane, and that he is using people for political reasons.  And, New York city is considering legal action against the state of Texas, saying that they believe Texas is “involuntarily” moving the migrants from one state to another with no regard for public safety.

And, last night, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar announced that his office has opened a criminal investigation into Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for sending the 48 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.  Salazar claims that many of the migrants were lured by a paid recruiter from a San Antonio area migrant resource center under false pretenses with claims of jobs when they arrived in Martha’s Vineyard.  The identity of the recruiter is unknow.  In response, DeSantis said he is simply helping migrants move to “sanctuary” jurisdictions where more resources are available.

Uvalde School News

In a wide ranging and in-depth interview with the Austin American-Statesman last week, Texas DPS Director Steve McCraw apologized for the response to the Uvalde school shooting.  McCraw said that the families of the victims were owed an apology from all of law enforcement for the delayed response, and that DPS was part of the law enforcement response.  DPS is still conducting an internal investigation into what role their officers played during the incident, and McCraw said in the interview that the agency is determined to find out if they have any culpability for the mistakes made that day, including whether or not the DPS officers were in any type of position to confront the gunman earlier than the 70 minutes that elapsed from the time the shooting was first reported to when he was finally killed.  McCraw also went on to say that he wished the DPS would have taken over command of the response from the beginning, and “maybe his officers would have pressed the gunman sooner.”

The parents of one of the children killed during the shooting met with US Senator Ted Cruz last week, with the purpose of asking him to support a ban on semi-automatic assault rifles.  In the meeting that according to the family lasted less than 5 minutes, Cruz rejected their plea, and instead offered a plan to improve school safety that increases law enforcement officers on school campuses and provides more funding for mental health services for students.  The meeting was one of many that day on Capitol Hill that were organized by families of victims of previous school shootings.

Political Notes

Attorney General Ken Paxton will be questioned under oath in a deposition later this fall, after the general election, in conjunction with his ongoing indictment for securities fraud.  A Collin County grand jury indicted Paxton in 2015 for two felony charges for failing to register with the State Securities Commission after he tried to persuade several people to invest in a McKinney technology company without disclosing that he had been compensated with shares of stock.  Paxton’s legal team has successfully delayed the trial on numerous occasions and to have this first deposition delayed until after the November election is another victory for Paxton.  And in a matter brought forth by agency employees, the incumbent AG is also under FBI investigation for bribery and misuse of office for allegedly assisting a donor to his campaign with legal issues.

You may have seen new billboards on major roadways throughout the state recently that criticize Texas’ new restrictive abortion law.  The ad campaign is being funded by California Governor Gavin Newsome, and is also running on billboards in other red states such as Mississippi, South Carolina, and South Dakota.  The ads declare that the new state law is too restrictive and then refers the readers to a website that explains how and where to receive abortion services in California.  No word on how long the billboards will display these ads.

Amarillo Congressman Ronny Jackson is considering seeking the Republican nomination for US Senate in 2026, the year that incumbent John Cornyn would be seeking reelection to his fourth term.  Jackson, serving his second term in the US House, is best known for being the personal physician to President Trump while he was in the White House.  Jackson has been a voracious fundraiser during his time in Congress, and routinely endorses other Republican candidates in contested primaries that profess to further the Trump agenda.  Jackson came under fire in 2020 when Trump was considering nominating Jackson to be the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.  During the vetting process, allegations surfaced that Jackson drank heavily while in the White House and often mishandled medication.  Jackson eventually withdrew from consideration.  Cornyn has not commented on his 2026 reelection plans.

What’s Next??

Later today, the House Public Education committee with meet jointly with the House Higher Education Committee to discuss the teacher shortage in the state and find more ways to better educate and recruit teachers for public schools and universities.  The Senate has no upcoming hearings scheduled.

The schedule and details of all interim hearings can be found here:

The last day to register to vote is October 11th.  Early voting starts October 24th, election day is November 8th