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Though It's Still Early, 2014 Election Buzz Is Already Heating Up

Senator Wendy R. Davis

Texas Matters: Since everyone can't seem to wait to get back into election mode, speculation over whether or not Wendy Davis enters the gubernatorial race continues to swirl. There are already two candidates in the Republican pool, and perceived front-runner Greg Abbott is already on the road. Also on this show: StateImpact's three-part series on eminent domain laws, and a look at how outsiders are helping an indigenous group in Chihuahua, Mexico.

Is she in? Wendy Davis on running for governor and life as a teenage mom

With Republicans Greg Abbott and Tom Pauken already campaigning for governor, Texans want to know whether Democrat Wendy Davis will enter the race and challenge them. KERA’s Shelley Kofler talks to Davis and others about the decision.

Abbott already on the road

If Davis decides to run for governor, it is likely that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott will be her toughest opponent. He has a swelling campaign has over $15 million and he’s got the full support of the conservatives in Texas, who he has won over the years as attorney general by fighting for their cause in the courts.

Abbott is already campaigning hard in Texas. Here’s a portion of his stump speech at a recent whistle stop in McAllen, Texas, which was his first campaign stop after formally announcing his candidacy in San Antonio.

"When the ten commandments monument on the Texas capitol grounds came under attack, I defended that monument all the way to the United States Supreme Court, and we won, and that monument still stands today."
"When your second amendment rights and your liberties came under assault, I defended them all the way to the supreme court, and we won once again."
"I am such a defender of the liberty that causes people to come to this country in the first place that I have sued the Obama administration 27 times over the last five years."

Also in this episode of Texas Matters:

StateImpact's 3-part series on eminent domain:

Credit Mose Buchele / KUT News
KUT News
Jake White, a Jefferson Country farmer, looks at a section of the Crosstex NGL pipeline before it is buried under his field.

(Part 1) Eminent Domain: In Texas, landowners face continued uncertainty:

As the drilling fields in the west and south of the state produce more oil and gas, companies are scrambling for ways to bring it to market. Pipelines are the preferred method, but what happens if a landowner doesn’t want a pipeline on their property?

In that case, the company can claim the right to take land simply by checking a box on a government form, and efforts to reign in that power have so far proven elusive.

KUT’s Mose Buchele has produced a special report for StateImpact Texas about the state of eminent domain in Texas and how it can mean continued uncertainty for landowners in Texas.

(Part 2) How an overhaul of eminent domain law failed in Texas

Earlier this year, landowner groups, environmentalists and oil and gas interests appeared to be approaching an agreement about the eminent domain laws in Texas that many agreed needed to change. But efforts to overhaul property rights failed this recent legislative session.

(Part3) Eminent Domain: How the courts are transforming Texas land rights

The uncertainty in Texas over eminent domain rules is creating a growing tension between private landowners and the oil and the pipeline industry. In the final installment of the series we go back to where we started, a farm in East Texas, to learn how legal battles there may bring changes to eminent domain when lawmakers could not.

Americans, Mexicans helping isolated indigenous group

As the summer planting season begins, American and Mexican citizens are helping one of Mexico’s most isolated indigenous groups, the Tarahumara of Chihuahua.

The Tarahumara are facing the twin challenges of both poverty and corruption -- illegal loggers and violent criminal organizations steal their arable land and plunder the mountains. Lorne Matalon reports from the Sierra Madre of Mexico.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi