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Texas Take: A Red Wave, Heroin And Support For Abortion Rights

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Republican Party of Texas
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Plus "indictment" cake, GOP in-fighting and a passel of summer polls

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.Wasn't there supposed to be a blue wave this year?

In a state Senate election to fill the seat of disgraced state Sen. Carlos Uresti, the San Antonio Democrat headed to federal prison for fraud and money laundering, Republican Pete Flores came in first in eight-candidate field -- after garnering 11th-hour GOP endorsements from Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz.

That's surprising considering that Democrats for years have held the 17-county district that starts on San Antonio's east side and stretches hundreds of the miles to the west.

Flores, a former Texas game warden, will face Democrat Pete Gallego, a former congressman and state representative, in a fall runoff. While Republicans are elated and think Flores can win the runoff, Democrats say it was a fluke that Gallegos will erase.

As the fall campaign season nears, a new run of summer polls shows that while most statewide Republican officeholders hold double-digit leads, Cruz is not among them. One poll him six percentage points ahead of Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke, while another shows him in a dead heat.

Cruz has started airing attack ads about O'Rourke accusing him of wanting to impeach President Trump and wanting to legalize all drugs, including heroin. O'Rourke says that’s bunk.

Those polls also show that most Texans favor abortion rights.

At the same time, Democratic challenger Justin Nelson is celebrating the three-year anniversary of GOP AG Ken Paxton's criminal charges with an online "indictment birthday cake" video.

The rest of the political week: New skirmishes between business groups and Paxton over DACA, NFL player groups are contributing to Texas candidates and conservative Republicans who are President Trump's critics gather in Austin to see if they can reach a consensus on how to work with him.

Go behind the headlines for a look at what's really going on at the Texas Capitol and in Washington. Join the conversation featuring the Chronicle's Austin Bureau Chief Mike Ward and Scott Braddock, editor of The Quorum Report, an acclaimed Texas political newsletter, with special guest Ryan PoppeTexas Public Radio's Capitol reporter.

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

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