Uncomfortable questions about in-state tuition might prompt candidates like Greg Abbott to reach into Rick Perry's bag of tricks for an issue that addresses immigration issues without inflaming the wrong voters.
Data from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll suggests that the issues Sen. Dan Patrick invokes in the latest ad in his bid for lieutenant governor serve up very inviting bait for conservative voters, the big fish in GOP primary elections.
Republican voters in Texas still have immigration and border security atop their lists of most important problems facing the state, and their sway over members of the Texas delegation will be noted by political colleagues and potential opponents alike.
As many GOP leaders argue that passing comprehensive immigration reform is in the GOP’s best interest, some data suggests that the long-term interest of party strategists and the short-term self-interest of members of Congress are not necessarily in sync.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio hit the Sunday talk shows to discuss an immigration reform plan that he said would not provide amnesty. In Texas, a strong majority of Texans oppose a comprehensive overhaul, with the "pathway to citizenship" a likely stumbling block.
Many Republican officials are moderating their views on immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for immigrants already in the U.S. Their voters, however, remain opposed to the idea. And Tea Party voters are strongly opposed.
If Ted Cruz seems to be marching out of step with GOP leaders attempting to lower the volume on the party’s immigration rhetoric, results from the last UT/Texas Tribune poll suggest the drumbeat he's listening to is the one being played by his voters.
A proposed federal immigration reform poses a test for Texas Republicans: Their leaders, compared to politicians from other states, tend to be more moderate. But those leaders stand at the front of a GOP that is hostile to some of the proposal's key points.
The governor's political radar is characteristically fine-tuned here, at least for the short term.