With tea party-backed candidates losing big races in Kentucky with Sen. Mitch McConnell and in North Carolina with Thom Tillis, as well as less well-known races in Oregon and Georgia, is the national tea party movement in decline?
A group of Tea Party Republicans from the Texas House have issued an open letter to State Rep. Dan Branch, who's facing a May 27 runoff election with Ken Paxton for the Republican nomination in the Attorney General’s race. The letter asks Branch to drop out of the race. Rep. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) was one of the undersigned and says based on election returns, Branch doesn’t have a chance.
Texas Matters: Breaking down results from the March primary election -- there were some surprises, but for most it was just another day at the office. Also on this show: Changes at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Tea party remains strong in Texas
Tuesday was primary day in Texas, the first in the nation and a kickoff for the 2014 election season. The two top candidates looking for party nominations for governor -- Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis -- had their expected solid wins.
The first primary in what Republicans hope is a triumphant election year sent a message that U.S. Sen Ted Cruz and the tea party still wield considerable influence in one of the nation’s most conservative states.
But to find out exactly how much, Texans will have to wait.
In a primary where an extraordinary number of statewide positions were up for grabs following Gov. Rick Perry’s decision not to seek another term, some incumbent candidates successfully fought to beat back tea party challengers Tuesday.
Some of Texas’ biggest trade and business associations are looking to counter anti-big government groups like the tea party that have crowded recent Republican primaries -- the group’s effort is in response to actions taken in the past legislative session against state infrastructure bills.
The Texas Future Business Alliance is made up of ten business groups that are supporting Republican candidates who have supported water infrastructure bills and transportation and education funding in the past.
State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff, who is a Republican, has backed the use of online lesson plan provider CSCOPE from the beginning, but the groups making the push to impeach are not using that as their reason to oust him.
"They allege that because I represent Microsoft as a paid lobbyist at the Texas Legislature that that somehow disqualifies me or gives me a conflict of interest on the State Board of Education," Ratliff said.
In the Cleveland office of the Internal Revenue Service, a technique to flag certain 501(c)4 applications for tax exempt status has turned into a national scandal, with conservative groups crying foul. The San Antonio Tea Party has joined a class action lawsuit against the IRS and persons within it.
A fact that is being overlooked as the IRS scandal plays out is that both conservative and progressive groups were required to answer additional questions. Two Texas groups talk about the extra questionnaire and why they feel they deserve to be tax free. Also on this show: In the last two years, 60 women's health clinics were forced to close, so why did the state have $2.3 million in unspent federal funds, which was available to keep clinics running?
Sen. Ted Cruz has been on the job seven weeks, and in that short time he’s made a big splash in Washington D.C. Speculation about the dynamic freshman legislator is blistering the blogosphere, and many are wondering if the Republican Party can control Cruz.