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Van De Putte Addition Could Be What Texas Democrats Need For 2014 Challenge

Office of State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte
State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, D-San Antonio.

Texas Matters: Still no official word from the San Antonio state senator, but Leticia Van De Putte has announced that she will make an official announcement next week. Would her addition to the Texas Democratic ticket make the party a serious challenger in 2014? Also on this show: Did race, or clever advertising, decide the winner in a Houston election? A Texas silver mine closes down on the border, causing big headaches for the area.

Texas Democrats like the look of a Davis-Van De Putte ticket

The filing window has opened for candidates running for state office in the 2014 general election and we’ve seen a flood of candidates from the Republican party, but only a trickle from the Democrats.

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, is at the top of the blue ticket running for governor, but what about all the blank spaces down ballot? Now we are learning that State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte of San Antonio is preparing to enter the race as the candidate for lieutenant governor.

KERA’s Shelley Kofler caught up with Van De Putte at a recent Arlington fundraiser and tells us what she would bring to the Democratic ticket.

Women and Latinos may be the decider in 2014

Is the arrival of Van De Putte as a statewide candidate a game changer, or just inside baseball for political junkies? Texas political junky Harvey Kronberg of the Quorum Report weighs in about the 2014 statewide election from the strengths of a possible Davis-Van De Putte ticket to a tough run in the GOP for the party's nomination for lieutenant governor.

"I think at the moment, if you had to handicap it, the odds are reasonably good that this is going to be an all white male republican ticket. Considering how many social conservative issues that Republicans have taken a position on impact women, I think women are going to be a critical component in this upcoming election. If you look at the recent Virginia exit polls, it was abortion-related issues -- invasive sonograms -- that apparently motivated single men and single women to overwhelmingly support the Democratic candidate."

Also in this edition of Texas Matters:

Misleading? Or Target Marketing?

Credit Dave Wilson campaign / via Facebook
via Facebook
Dave Wilson.

On Nov. 5, Texas had a general election and all nine proposed constitutional amendments were passed. Some counties went from dry to wet, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who faced eight challengers, easily won her third and final two-year term, and the race for a seat on the Houston Community College Board of Trustees ended up with a surprising winner. 

What makes this result interesting is that Dave Wilson, who beat the 24-year incumbent by only 26 votes, is now accused of misleading voters in the minority district that he is African American.

Wilson, who is white, used images of African Americans on his campaign literature and also touted the endorsement of his cousin Ron Wilson, a family connection he noted in the fine print of the endorsement. The confusion is that a former state representative from Houston, who is African American, is also named Ron Wilson.

Dave Wilson:

"In my strategy I wanted to target market the district -- it's predominantly African American. Target marketing is done by everybody -- the TV, radio, they all target market. You don't try to sell maternity clothes to a bunch of men, you target your market and you address and you fashion your literature to appeal to that market. Nothing was deceptive about what I did, I never once had I indicated that I was African American, and quite the contrary. My opponent, when he saw that I was gaining ground on him and possibly he was in trouble, he took the liberty to send out a flier that had my picture on it to everybody in the district."

Texas silver mine, border county's largest taxpayer, shuts down

After two years of hopes of an economic injection to a poverty-plagued part of the border, a Texas silver mine is shutting down at least until next year. 85 people are jobless, the mine’s under a safety investigation and the company is ruffling feathers by taking one of the country’s poorest counties to court to cut its tax bill. Fronteras reporter Lorne Matalon from Marfa Public Radio reports.  

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