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Texas Press Association State Capital Highlights
Incumbents win most contested races on Nov. 6
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 • Posted November 16, 2012

AUSTIN — America elected Democrat Barack Obama of Illinois to a second term as president on Nov. 6, with Republican challenger Mitt Romney of Massachusetts winning Texas and 23 other states.

Unofficial election night returns for Texas posted by the secretary of state’s office show the Obama-Biden ticket with 3,294,440 votes (41.36 percent) and the Romney-Ryan ticket with 4,555,799 votes (57.20 percent) of nearly 8 million total ballots cast. Of the total, more than 5 million ballots were cast in early voting. Seven other presidential candidates on the ballot combined for less than 1 percent of the vote.

Also, as reported by the secretary of state’s Elections Division, statewide turnout was 58.36 percent of 13,646,226 registered voters. In contrast, more than 8 million Texans voted in the 2008 presidential election, or 59.5 percent of the 13,575,062 voters registered for that contest.

Below the presidential race on the ballot was the contest for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated at the end of the year by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Dallas. Republican Ted Cruz of Houston, a former Texas solicitor general, won with 56.63 percent of the vote to a former state representative, Democrat Paul Sadler of Henderson, who drew 40.45 percent.

Notably, in the races for congressional seats, state Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, won against incumbent U.S. Rep. Francisco Canseco, R-San Antonio, for sprawling West Texas Congressional District 23. State Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, won CD-20, and will succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, D-San Antonio. Also, state Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, won the race for Fort Worth’s CD-33; former Secretary of State Roger Williams won CD-25 in Central Texas; and state Rep. Randy Weber, R-Pearland, won against former U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson, a Democrat, in the race for CD-14 which includes the coastal counties of Brazoria, Galveston and Jefferson.

In other races, incumbent state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, was elected to a second term, overcoming GOP challenger Mark Shelton, a member of the Texas House of Representatives. Republican Christi Craddick, daughter of former House Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, won a seat on the three-member Texas Railroad Commission, the state agency that regulates the gas and oil industry. Looking at judicial, state board of education, and other races, incumbency once again proved an advantage. Complete election results may be found via the Internet at sos.state.tx.us.

Order sides with provider

A Travis County state district court on Nov. 8 extended a temporary injunction preventing the State of Texas from cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood.

Pursuant to a law passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011, the state has been planning to ban Planned Parenthood from participating in the state-run but federally funded Women’s Health Program. If not for a temporary injunction granted last month, funding would have been cut off on Nov. 1. The state’s case for cutting the funding stems from the law’s “affiliate ban” meant to punish health care providers that refer women to any entity that offers abortion services.

The temporary injunction now extends until Dec. 17, the date of a formal hearing in state district court.

Famed Coach Royal dies

Darrell K Royal, coach of the University of Texas Longhorn football team from 1957 to 1976, died at age 88 in Austin on Nov. 7. A private burial was scheduled in the Texas State Cemetery.

Royal’s teams won national championships in 1963, 1969 and 1970. In his honor, the Longhorns’ home field was renamed Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium in 1996.

Royal compiled the most victories of any UT football coach to date, with a record of 167 wins, 47 losses and 5 ties. His teams won 11 Southwest Conference titles.

Lately, Royal made strides in generating awareness about Alzheimer’s disease, which he suffered from. Royal and his wife, Edith, founded the DKR Fund for Alzheimer’s research.

Noted judge Kilgarlin dies

Former Texas Supreme Court Justice William Wayne Kilgarlin, 79, died Nov. 5 in Albuquerque. Kilgarlin served on the court from 1983 to 1989 and served as a Houston state district judge from 1978 to 1982. A Democrat, he was elected to represent a district of Houston in the Texas Legislature in 1958 and did not seek reelection in 1960. Among his noted roles were in: (1) The 1964 federal case, Kilgarlin v. Martin, which, through the U.S. Supreme Court, forced Texas to draw redistricting maps by population rather than land area; and (2) the Texas “Robin Hood” law, requiring wealthy school districts to share a portion of their property tax revenue with poor school districts.

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