Justin Miller

Justin Miller is the politics reporter for the Observer. He previously covered politics and policy for The American Prospect in Washington, D.C., and has also written for The Intercept, The New Republic and In These Times. Follow him on Twitter or email him at [email protected].

A petrochemical plant is seen in this aerial view Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008 in Port Arthur, Texas. Hurricane Ike hit the Texas Gulf Coast Saturday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, Pool)

As Fossil Fuel Industry Invests Billions in New Texas Facilities, it Could Unleash a Huge Emissions Bomb

A new report finds that a pipeline of new and proposed oil and gas projects—many of them in Texas—could produce half a billion tons of additional greenhouse gas emissions a year.

A hulking new $10 billion ethane cracker near Corpus Christi set for completion by 2022. A trio of approved liquified natural gas export terminals near Brownsville that could be up and running by the end of 2023. A $5 billion … Read More

Political strategist and pundit Karl Rove was an architect of the GOP takeover of Texas in the 1980s. Now, he's come home to ensure Trump doesn't unravel his legacy.
Texas Politics

The Return of Karl Rove

Political strategist and pundit Karl Rove was an architect of the GOP takeover of Texas in the 1980s. Now, he's come home to ensure Trump doesn't unravel his legacy.

Former Dallas Morning News political journalist Wayne Slater remembers the moment well. He was sitting at a sports bar near downtown Austin one day in the late 1980s, listening to a quixotic political consultant pitch his plan to turn Texas—a … Read More

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks during a campaign rally for President Donald Trump, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)
Texas Politics

Questions About Politics in 2020 That Aren’t ‘Will Texas Turn Blue?’

Democrats and Republicans are gearing up for a clash in Texas. Here’s the context you need to understand the coming year in politics.

As we head into 2020, brace yourself for an onslaught of headlines from national media posing a reductive question: “Will Texas Turn Blue?” It’s become something of a biannual assignment for political commentators. Yes, 2020 could very likely be a … Read More

Democratic presidential candidate former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro arrives to speak at the Iowa Democratic Party's Liberty and Justice Celebration, Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Texas Politics

Julián Castro’s Bid May Be Over, But His Influence on the Presidential Race Will Continue

The son of San Antonio’s presidential campaign never quite took off, but he still left an indelible impression.

Nearly one year ago, Julián Castro stood before a crowd of supporters on San Antonio’s West Side—just blocks from where he grew up—and announced his presidential bid. It wasn’t a surprising move. Ever since the 2012 Democratic National Convention, where … Read More

Texas Politics

National Dems Back MJ Hegar, Underscoring a Deeper Debate: How to Win in Texas

More than three months before the primary, Washington Democrats caught Texas party activists off-guard by endorsing a white candidate in a crowded field that includes several black and Hispanic contenders.

On Monday, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee endorsed former U.S. House candidate MJ Hegar in her bid to run against Republican incumbent Senator John Cornyn. The decision to back Hegar—who is running in a crowded, diverse field—strikes at the heart … Read More

In this Sept. 2, 2019 photo, Mayor Sylvester Turner speaks as Tony Buzbee, left, listens during a mayoral candidate forum for the 2019 election in Houston. As Turner seeks a second term, he’s hoping to use residents’ antipathy toward President Donald Trump to help him beat Turner, his biggest challenger. Crimes rates, allegations of City Hall corruption and the pace of the city’s recovery after Hurricane Harvey are among the issues that have come up in the race. (Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle via AP)
Texas Politics

Is Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner Headed for a Second Term?

The incumbent mayor largely avoided a battle royale with bombastic trial lawyer Tony Buzbee for control of the Bayou City.

Just over a month ago, Houston’s mayoral runoff looked like it was shaping up to be a political battle royale. It features two big political personalities—incumbent Mayor Sylvester Turner and bombastic trial attorney Tony Buzbee—and is set in a booming … Read More

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, speaks during a press conference outside the Capitol with members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and members from the House Kentucky Delegation on the "Ratepayer Protection Act" on Wednesday, June 24, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Joe Barton Resurfaces with a Blueprint for How to Bail Out the Oil Industry and Worsen Climate Change

As the former Texas congressman prepares to get into the lobbying game, the climate-change denier reflects on how he worked with industry to unleash a runaway drilling boom in the Permian Basin.

The legislation was marked with the number of the beast.  Joe Barton’s staffers, perhaps sensing some irony, insisted that he reintroduce his 2015 bill that proposed lifting the federal ban on crude oil exports. Were the bill to pass it … Read More


‘Almost Akin to a Political Coup’: Houston Teachers Fight Back Against State Takeover of HISD

In a last-ditch effort to stop a state takeover of Texas’ largest school district, the Houston teachers union is suing the state for disenfranchising voters of color.

The fight over the future of Houston’s public school system escalated this week when the local teachers union joined a federal voting rights lawsuit against the state. The legal challenge is part of a last-ditch effort to stop the state … Read More

Texas Governor Greg Abbott writes notes before a gubernatorial debate against his Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas, on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP, Pool)
Criminal Justice

On Rodney Reed Case, Greg Abbott Gets a Political Reprieve

A last-minute court intervention relieved political pressure on the Texas governor, who was ultimately able to keep his capital punishment bona fides intact.

As Rodney Reed’s November 20 execution date drew closer, all eyes turned to Governor Greg Abbott. When new evidence surfaced casting doubt on Reed’s conviction for the 1996 rape and murder that put him on death row, it quickly drew … Read More