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GOP Gov. Abbott Predicts Democrat Valdez As Runoff Victor

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Christopher Connelly / KERA News
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Border security an issue again, NAFTA changes and Ted Cruz as the 'unity' candidate

Editor's note: Mike Ward, who appeared on this podcast, was a reporter for the Houston Chronicle whose reporting was called into question in August, 2018. Although the podcasts were primarily analysis of current events, in the interest of disclosure, we thought it wise to include this information.
 
The Houston Chronicle retracted eight reports and issued corrections in multiple others, saying they were based on fabricated information, after an outside investigation revealed 44 percent of people quoted in Ward’s stories did not appear to exist. Ward resigned earlier this year while the investigation was underway.

Gov. Greg Abbott surprised Democrats with a tweet where he acknowledged for the first time that former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez would be the party's nominee to face him next November.

An hour later, Valdez shot back: "@GregAbbott_TX it's a shame your future for Texas is full of fear."

Remember that while Abbott has said zippo about his Democratic rivals during his reelection campaign so far, members of his inner circle have privately said for months that they would prefer facing Valdez than Houston entrepreneur Andrew White, who is more conservative on some issues than Valdez.

An unamused White responded: ""Clearly, I don't have Gov. Abbott's support for the Democratic nomination for governor. He wants Ms. Valdez as his opponent. But don't Democratic voters get to decide?"

The rest of the political week in Texas at times looked like a shootout between political rivals than a reasoned  civics debate, over issues including proposed revisions to the North American Free Trade Agreement. Abbott has warned President Trump that tearing up the pact could blast a hole in Texas' booming economy.

Don't mess with Texas, he said.

Also up for debate: Toll roads, an investigation of the Cambridge Analytica data case and the U.S. Senate race, where incumbent Republican Ted Cruz is positioning himself as a unity candidate.

Our sponsors this week: Lone Star Targeting and the Texas Association of Counties.

With Scott Braddock, editor of the Quorum Report, and Mike WardAustin Bureau chief for the Houston Chronicle.

Texas politics are entertaining but never boring, as this edition of the state's leading political podcast, produced in collaboration with partner Texas Public Radio, clearly shows.