Top 10 State Stories

The 10 stories that defined Texas politics in 2014

Greg Abbott
Greg Abbott (Photo by Jana Birchum)

1) MEET THE NEW BOSS, SAME AS THE OLD BOSS After 14 years of Gov. Rick Perry and 12 years of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, there's new management at the Capitol, as Attorney General Greg Abbott took the governor's mansion, and Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, became his No. 2.

2) COOL, DAMP DROUGHT The never-ending Texas drought stretches into its second decade. Even with unseasonal rainstorms and the pending threat of El Niño, the Highland Lakes and most of Texas' water supply is still perilously low.

3) TEXAS VOTER ID LAW STANDS (FOR NOW) The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in October that the restrictive rule, disenfranchising potentially 600,000 voters, should stand because it was too close to the November election date to overturn it. Three justices argued that letting it stand would cause more harm to voter rights than an 11th hour injunction.

4) DAVIS DISASTER Her 2013 abortion rights filibuster made Fort Worth Sen. Wendy Davis the inevitable Democratic nominee for governor. But an ineptly run campaign in one of the reddest states in the union saw her take the worst Democratic gubernatorial loss in over a decade.

Rick Perry
Rick Perry (Photo by Jana Birchum)

5) INFANT IMMIGRATION INFLUX Texas dealt with a large number of children crossing into the U.S. to escape poverty and violence in South and Central America by militarizing the border, as the legislative budget board shuffled funds marked for TxDOT debt to deploy National Guard troops.

6) TROPICAL FEVER Ebolamania swept the nation more virulently than the actual disease, but Texas saw the bulk of the nation's caseload after two nurses were infected while treating the state's sole fatality, Thomas Eric Duncan. Meanwhile, 7,400 people had died of the disease in Africa.

7) PERRY 2.0? After "oops"ing his way to presidential primary failure in 2012, Gov. Rick Perry used his lame-duck year to kick-start a 2016 run. He's already promising that "we are a substantially different, versed candidate" – and that royal "we" speaks volumes about the candidate.

8) STILL DEADLY The Texas record as the killingest state of the union took a hit this year. There were only 10 executions, down from 16 in 2013, leaving the Lone Star State tied with Missouri. There are currently 274 inmates under a death sentence.

9) CRUZ ABUSE Sen. Ted Cruz, everyone's favorite Canadian-Cuban import, perfected his Joe McCarthy impression, pushing his fellow GOPers aside to grab the Obama-bashing limelight over health care, the budget, immigration, Cuba, net neutrality, ....

10) SMOOTHER RIDES? In 2013, it was water. In 2014, roads. For the second year in a row, Texas voters agreed to invest in infrastructure by accessing money previously dedicated to the Rainy Day Fund.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Top 10s, Texas Legislature, Rick Perry, David Dewhurst, Voter ID, Wendy Davis, Central American Refugee Crisis, Thomas Eric Duncan, death row, Ted Cruz, Rainy Day Fund

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