Jim Henson directs the Texas Politics project and teaches in the Department of Government at The University of Texas, where he also received a doctorate. He helped design public interest multimedia for the Benton Foundation in Washington, D.C., in the late 1990s and has written about politics in general-interest and academic publications. He also serves as associate director of the College of Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services unit at UT, where he has helped produce several award-winning instructional media projects. In 2008, he and Daron Shaw, a fellow UT government professor, established the first statewide, publicly available internet survey of public opinion in Texas using matched random sampling. He lives in Austin, where he also serves as a member of the City of Austin Ethics Review Commission.
Many statewide Republican candidates are running to the right to position themselves for the primaries, but the Speaker of the House enjoys a rarified position: An office with statewide reach that doesn't appear on the statewide ballot.
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.
The regular Texas legislative session was notable for bipartisan coalitions and harmony. The special sessions have been notable for partisan battles and stalemates. To understand what's going on, just look at the voters.
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.
Texas voters are concerned about public ethics, and about some of the issues that have attached to the governor over the last 12 years — but they're partisan about it, and that has made all the difference for Rick Perry.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst currently enjoys the unenviable status of being the least popular of the major statewide Republican elected officials in Texas, according to an analysis of his approval numbers and standing in election matchups.