Sep 9, 2022 | View in browser
By Allyson Waller and The Texas Tribune Politics Team
60 days until the November general election.


Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's campaign said Friday he did not know his investment portfolio included funds managed by firms he had denounced until after submitting annual finance reports in February.  
The statement from Patrick’s chief strategist, Allen Blakemore, came after Texas Monthly reported Thursday that the lieutenant governor had held onto investment funds focused on environmental, social and corporate governance — also known as ESG investments — even though he had fought during the 2021 legislative session for the state to divest from those kinds of funds. In particular, the article reported, Patrick held investments with BlackRock, the world's largest money manager, which has embraced ESG investments and which Patrick called “the worst offender” in the industry. Texas Monthly said Patrick kept the ESG funds in his portfolio even after his efforts to pass Senate Bill 13, which pushed state retirement funds to divest from such investments and went into effect last September.  
Blakemore said Patrick moved to sell the ESG investments in his portfolio once he discovered them. 
Texas Monthly reported that as of February’s finance reports, Patrick had between one and 100 shares in BlackRock potentially worth $91,000, and that he and his wife, Jan, owned stock in three mutual funds worth between $15,000 and $58,000. The magazine said it could not get the exact worth for the investments because Patrick’s office did not respond to requests for comment.  
Blakemore disputed the story’s findings, calling the article a “hatchet job” and saying the lieutenant governor’s campaign received a long list of questions last Friday with a short deadline and no contact number. He said the campaign emailed and called Texas Monthly before the magazine’s deadline last week but received no response. 
“As soon as the Lt. Governor discovered Blackrock holdings were in his portfolio, he sold them immediately on January 21, 2022, almost 9 months ago. He did not keep them as the article alleges,” Blakemore said in a statement. “He discovered he owned them when he filed his 2022 finance report in February, as required. Lt. Governor Patrick did not make a decision to buy Blackrock. He depends on his investment advisors who made the Blackrock investments before the SB13 was passed.”
Blakemore said the article “grossly inflated” the value of the investments, which he disclosed. The disclosure puts the investments in question at around $35,000. 
Patrick is running for reelection in November. — James Barragán


U.S. Senate Republican leadership is locked into a quiet but public battle over fundraising for the midterm elections, and Sen. John Cornyn weighed in on the saga this week.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the party’s fundraising arm for Senate candidates, is markedly being outspent by its Democratic counterpart. GOP leadership is pointing fingers on how to catch up, and Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, who heads the committee, is under pressure to inject some of his own cash into the operation, as reported by Punchbowl News.
Cornyn, who once led the fundraising committee, told Punchbowl News, “I’m probably the second largest fundraiser for the NRSC. And I just think everybody needs to do everything that they’re capable of doing. Leader McConnell has got his little project he’s working on. But this is the time for all hands on deck. If somebody has got some capacity that they are willing to contribute, then God bless ‘em.”
On his own, Cornyn has spent nearly $3.3 million from his fundraising committee to help GOP candidates in 2022. That includes almost $500,000 to the NRSC. — Stephen Neukam 


Texas Democratic Party leaders penned an open letter Thursday to county party chairs, precinct chairs and State Democratic Executive Committee members asking them to mobilize female voters on the issue of abortion rights. 

“As Texas Democrats, we have a political obligation to meet this moment and channel Texan women’s righteous anger and frustration into action,” reads the letter, written by Gilberto Hinojosa, the party’s chair, and Shay Wyrick Cathey, the party’s vice chair. “We must move mountains to register each and every eligible woman to vote.”

The push comes months after the U.S. Supreme Court in June did away with constitutional protections for abortion rights that had been in place for almost 50 years. That allowed Texas Republican leaders to put in place a near-total ban on abortions in the state.

Democrats are hopeful that female voters who see the new laws as too restrictive will come out to support their party in November. — James Barragán


The Human Rights Campaign has criticized Attorney General Ken Paxton’s signing of a document described as the “Women’s Bill of Rights” and issued by Independent Women’s Voice, a group that states it works to “preserve biological sex.” 

“The so-called ‘women’s bill of rights’ is not about protecting women; it is instead another attempt by extremist politicians to divide us by using LGBTQ+ people as an easy target and refusing to recognize transgender women as women,” said Preston Knight, Human Rights Campaign’s field organizer in Texas. 

The group’s bill of rights” states that “for purposes of state/federal law, a person’s ‘sex’ is defined as his or her biological sex.” 

Texas legislators have increasingly unleashed attacks on LGBTQ Texans, including pushing back on gender-affirming care and transgender students’ participation on school sports. This year, Paxton released a nonbinding legal opinion arguing that providing gender-affirming care to minors can constitute child abuse. 

Other Texas politicians who have signaled their support of the document include U.S. Reps. Ronny Jackson, Randy Weber, Lance Gooden, Jake Ellzey and Brian Babin. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has also issued his support. — Allyson Waller


  • A fundraiser honoring Frederick Frazier, Republican candidate for Texas House District 61, will begin at 1 p.m. Monday at The Austin Club. 
  • A fundraising reception honoring state Rep. Richard Peña Raymond will take place at 3 p.m. Monday at The Austin Club. 
  • A campaign fundraiser for state Rep. Bobby Guerra will begin at 1 p.m. Tuesday at The Austin Club. 
  • A happy hour fundraiser for the Texas House Caucus on Climate, Environment and the Energy Industry will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Higher Ground, 720 Congress Ave. in Austin. 
  • A fundraising reception for state Rep. Trent Ashby, who’s running to represent Texas House District 9, will begin at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at The Austin Club. 
  • A fundraiser for state Rep. Erin Zwiener will begin at 4 p.m. Thursday at The Austin Club. 
  • Texans for Lawsuit Reform’s political action committee is hosting a fundraising reception for Stan Gerdes, Republican candidate for Texas House District 17, at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at 919 Congress Ave. in Austin. 
  • Texans for Lawsuit Reform’s political action committee is hosting a fundraising reception for Hugh Shine, Republican candidate for Texas House District 55, at 2 p.m. Thursday at 919 Congress Ave. in Austin. 
  • Civil rights leader Dolores Huerta will join Beto O’Rourke’s campaign trail this month as part of her “Juntos Se Puede” tour. Stops include Brownsville, McAllen, Corpus Christi and San Antonio on Sept. 17 and 18. 
  • A fundraiser in support of state Sen. Donna Campbell will begin at 1 p.m. Sept. 20 at The Austin Club. 
  • A fundraiser honoring state Rep. Penny Morales Shaw will begin at 12:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at The Austin Club.
  • A fundraiser for Josey Garcia, Democratic candidate for Texas House District 124, will begin at 1 p.m. Sept. 21 at The Austin Club. 
  • A reception supporting state Rep. Julie Johnson will begin at 3 p.m. Sept. 23 at The Austin Club. 
  • State Sen. Dawn Buckingham, Republican candidate for Texas land commissioner, will serve as the keynote speaker at The Outstanding Women in Government Awards at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 28 at the AT&T Conference Center in Austin. 
  • Texans for Lawsuit Reform’s political action committee is hosting a fundraising reception for state Rep. Steve Allison at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 12 at 919 Congress Ave. in Austin. 
  • A fundraiser for state Rep. Ron Reynolds will begin at 4 p.m. Oct. 13 at The Austin Club. 
  • A fundraiser honoring state Rep. Tracy King will begin at 4 p.m. Oct. 19 at The Austin Club. 

You’re invited to a one-of-a-kind political party. Join us at Open Congress, presented by PepsiCo, on Saturday, Sept. 24.
Happening Saturday, Sept. 24, in downtown Austin, Open Congress is the free portion of The Texas Tribune Festival, open for all to attend. Listen in on Texas-centric and national talks on rising health care costs, fixing the power grid, what’s ahead for the 2022 elections and so much more. 

Explore the free program and RSVP to attend.
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  • Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Brooke Paup, who has served as chair of the Texas Water Development Board, to the Environmental Flows Advisory Group. Her term will end at the governor’s discretion. 
  • Abbott reappointed Bryan Daniel as chair of the Texas Workforce Commission. His term is set to expire Sept. 7, 2024. 
  • The Texas Nurses Association announced Serena Bumpus as its new CEO. Bumpus served as the director of nursing practice and professional development from 2020-21.
  • Gov. Greg Abbott announced he’s endorsing Carrie Isaac for Texas House District 73 and state Rep. Cody Harris for reelection to represent Texas House District 8. 
  • The National Democratic Redistricting Committee endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke
  • Abortion rights group Avow Texas released the following endorsements: O’Rourke, governor; Rochelle Garza, attorney general; Susan Hayes, agriculture commissioner; Elva Curl, HD-112; Mihaela Plesa, HD-70; Frank Ramirez, HD-118; Lulu Flores, HD-51; Elizabeth Ginsberg, HD-108; Becca DeFelice, HD-121; Jonathan Hildner, HD-54; Salman Bhojani, HD-92; Venton Jones, HD-100; Stephanie Morales, HD-138; and John Bryant, HD-114. 
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The Human Rights Campaign, Texans for Lawsuit Reform and PepsiCo have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

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