AUSTIN, Texas – RUDY KOSKI: The temperature in Texas right now is certainly very hot. So to the politics, especially this week, a new poll shows that the governor’s race has tightened and Senator John Cornyn is getting some heat for pushing his bipartisan gun bill.
A new twist to the border crisis. The governor claims that the president is not responding to an invasion. And, instead of bussing migrants to D.C., the governor wants troopers and the guard to take those who are caught back to the border.
Schools are back in the news. The teacher shortage is ramping up. And we also learned this week that the state is not planning to provide specific details on its safety inspection of classroom doors.
Also, a progressive Harris County judge indicted for official oppression after sending a reporter to jail gets a free pass from a friendly D.A. So let’s get our headlines from our panel and we’ll start off. First, Steven Dial with FOX 4 News. Steven?
STEVEN DIAL: Abbott Border Order.
RUDY KOSKI: Political analyst Mark Wiggins, what’s your headline for the day and the week?
MARK WIGGINS: The polls show Republicans behind the eight-ball on everything but the economy.
RUDY KOSKI: Greg Groogan, FOX 26 Houston. Greg, what’s your headline?
GREG GROOGAN: Confirmed, caution and incompetence cost lives in Uvalde.
RUDY KOSKI: And Brian Smith with St. Edward’s University. Brian, what’s your headline for the week?
BRIAN SMITH: John Cornyn goes from Republican Darling to RINO.
RUDY KOSKI: And you’re making a reference to that big poll that came out. Is the Cornyn pushback the one that surprised you or was there something else in that poll that caught your attention?
BRIAN SMITH: If Cornyn was running for office in the fall, that would be all over the place. But he’s not. And again, the governor’s race is getting closer.
STEVEN DIAL: Now, do I think some people’s thoughts may have shifted a little following Uvalde and following the overturning of Roe? Sure. But still, Governor Abbott has a decent lead and I think he likely will win unless something just dramatic back to back to back happens leading up to November.
MARK WIGGINS: You know, I think what’s interesting about that poll is that it was released after Uvalde, but before the Supreme Court decision. And it really, in any other year, all you Republicans would have to do is talk about the economy. And I think they’d win by a landslide. But the big question here is, did Republicans fly too close to the side on things like guns and reproductive rights?
GREG GROOGAN: Look, you guys. Abbott hasn’t even begun to spend the $50 million war chest he’s got.
BRIAN SMITH: And yeah, I did say that he was getting close, but I didn’t say he’s going to win it, just saying it’s getting close.
RUDY KOSKI: Mark. We talked about another sleeper issue being the teacher shortage crisis. But now we’re hearing that the safety inspection report that the state is doing at all the classroom doors will not be a specific accounting of every district and who passed, who failed. Could that be a mistake? Not releasing specifics?
MARK WIGGINS: And a lot of that depends on trust. And I think what happened in Uvalde has understandably weakened the trust in the protocols and the institutions that are supposed to keep us safe.
STEVEN DIAL: I really also think it’s going to depend on the school district, because here in north Texas, we have some pretty vocal superintendents and pretty vocal school districts and boards where they may just say it in a meeting.
GREG GROOGAN: Yeah, Rudy, I’m going to get wacky, join the PTO, go to meet the teacher, and I can check out the school for yourself, see if the locks work, if they don’t- raise hell.
RUDY KOSKI: Brian, is this one worth watching? Because a lot of parents are upset at school boards locally. Could this be the local issue that blows up?
BRIAN SMITH: We’ve seen this happen in places like Virginia and other states where parent pushback is really driving education. And parents in many places are really starting to take an active, active role and sometimes a hyperactive role. So this could be something, if something were to happen with education, we could have a big pushback.
MARK WIGGINS: And a lot of these issues that have been theoretical issues in the past, talking about things like guns and things like reproductive rights that most people feel like didn’t really immediately impact their daily lives. I think people are waking up and deciding that they do or realizing that they do. And a lot of people are getting radicalized. But does that sustain through November?
GREG GROOGAN: Look, man, three out of four national voters say the economy, inflation and gas prices are their principal voting issues in the fall.
STEVEN DIAL: You know, we will always live with these hot button issues of abortion and guns and all of that stuff. But like everyone’s mentioned, at the end of the day, can I not go out to the bar on Saturday and Sunday because I don’t have enough gas? I mean, that’s the things that people are thinking about. I mean, I buy- I’m going to be a little transparent- I buy some frozen chicken wings. They used to be $8. Now they’re $11. And so people care about those things.
RUDY KOSKI: All right. And with that, let’s wrap up the week with our one word. Mark your one word for the week.
MARK WIGGINS: Icarus.
RUDY KOSKI: Brian, your one word for the week.
BRIAN SMITH: Drought.
RUDY KOSKI: Greg, your word for the week.
GREG GROOGAN: Simplonas.
RUDY KOSKI: All right. And Steven, it can’t be the Atlanta Braves, but your word for the week.
STEVEN DIAL: I mean, they are doing really well. But I’ll say, Heat.
RUDY KOSKI: And with that, we’re wrapping up our week in Texas politics.
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