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].

By Justin Miller:

Ed Scruggs, Board Vice-Chair of Texas Gun Sense – Advocacy group that promotes common sense, right, listens to Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott, left, during a roundtable discussion to address safety and security at Texas schools in the wake of the shooting at Santa Fe, at the state Capitol in Austin, Texas, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Abbott, a Republican who has worked to expand gun rights in the state, called for the meetings as he weighs ideas for possible legislative action or executive orders. Two dozen groups were invited to attend the session, which was expected to include conversations on monitoring students' mental health. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Texas Politics

Why a Texas Gun Control Activist is Optimistic About the Chances for Reform

Texas Gun Sense’s Ed Scruggs on how Abbott and Patrick talk about guns behind closed doors—and what that says about the prospects for change.

Ed Scruggs has been on the frontlines of the battle to reform Texas’ gun laws ever since the Sandy Hook massacre. That 2012 tragedy galvanized a movement that has continued to grow in size and strength with each mass shooting … Read More

Illustration from: Bill Flores, Official Portrait, 112th Congress
Texas Politics

As Texodus Continues, Tom DeLay’s Tall Political Shadow Fades

Some of the biggest beneficiaries of the Hammer’s infamous gerrymandering in 2003 are bowing out of office—or facing huge reelection fights in 2020.

The so-called Texodus continues. On Wednesday morning, GOP Congressman Bill Flores announced he will not run for reelection in the 17th Congressional District in 2020. He is now the fifth member of the withering Texas GOP congressional delegation to call … Read More

In this Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, photo Crystal Harris, George Guerrero, and Curtis Patterson light candles in the shape of a cross on the ground of UTPB's quad in Odessa, Texas, to remember those who were killed in a shooting Saturday. (Ben Powell/Odessa American via AP)

After the Midland-Odessa Shooting, Texas Republicans Double Down on God and Guns Doctrine

After the second Texas mass shooting in a month, Democrats call for action while Republicans promise to protect the “God given rights” of gun ownership.

On Saturday afternoon, two state troopers pulled over a man in Midland, Texas, for apparently failing to use his turn signal. The driver grabbed his rifle and began shooting at the patrolmen, officials said, wounding one of them. From there, … Read More

abbott, legislature
Texas Politics

‘Mistakes Were Made’: Greg Abbott’s Non-Denial Denial on Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

The governor spoke of a “course correction,” but it’s going to take a mighty swerve to steer away from the Texas GOP’s weaponization of viciously anti-immigrant rhetoric.

After a whole week dodging the matter, it took Governor Greg Abbott nearly five painfully long seconds of silent contemplation to conjure up the words “mistakes were made” in response to a reporter’s question about the fear-mongering fundraising letter his … Read More

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke walks on an international bridge to cross into Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019. O’Rourke has crossed the border into Mexico for the funeral of one of the 22 people killed in a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
Texas Politics

Beto’s Last Chance at a 2020 Revival

The confines of a traditional presidential primary campaign weren’t working for O’Rourke. In the wake of El Paso, he is embracing a new strategy.

After five months mired in the day-to-day grind of a struggling presidential campaign, the El Paso massacre shook something loose in Beto O’Rourke.  Two days after the shooting, which was carried out by a white supremacist who was motivated by … Read More

Ruth Ruggero Hughs
Texas Politics

Governor Abbott Swaps One Scandal-Scarred Secretary of State for Another

As Texas Workforce Commission chair, Ruth Hughs secretly coordinated with tech lobbyists to rewrite the rules of the gig economy. Now she’s in charge of state elections.

Earlier this year, Governor Greg Abbott ordered his longtime mentee and newly appointed Secretary of State David Whitley to purge the Texas voter rolls of suspected noncitizens. It was bungled from the start. Whitley’s office flagged nearly 100,000 registered voters … Read More

Protesters gather outside the federal court house, Monday, July 10, 2017, in San Antonio, where a redistricting trial is taking place. Federal courts earlier this year found that Texas passed election laws to purposefully discriminate against Hispanic and black voters and the trial starting today could redraw Texas voting maps before 2018 and bolster Democratic efforts to reclaim Congress.
Texas Politics

Republicans Come to Texas to Prepare for the 2021 Redistricting Battle

The right has an audacious plan to, once again, use the redistricting process to maintain power. At ALEC’s annual conference in Austin, Republican state legislators learned how to navigate the legal and political challenges that will likely arise.

Last week, more than 200 conservative state lawmakers from around the country packed into a hotel conference room in Austin for a panel session entitled “How to Survive Redistricting.” The verdict? As the panel of battle-hardened Republicans advised, it’s a … Read More

Texas Legislature

From Bon Temps to Bonnghazi: The Tale of Texas’ Embattled House Speaker

How Dennis Bonnen became the target of a lawsuit; a potential Texas Rangers investigation; and of the right, left, and middle.

Less than three months ago, Dennis Bonnen was on top of the world—or the Texas Capitol, at least. But in a stunning reputational about-face, the Texas House Speaker may soon have the Texas Rangers knocking on his front door with … Read More

Texas Politics

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez Enters the U.S. Senate Race

In taking on Senator John Cornyn, Tzintzún Ramirez, a progressive organizer, hopes to build on Beto O’Rourke’s 2018 campaign, mobilize Latinx voters, and finally prove that Texas progressives can win a statewide election.

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, a longtime organizer of immigrant, worker, and Latinx communities, has pressured Texas politicians to enact progressive policies from the outside for years. Now, she’s looking to to enact change from within the system. On Monday morning, Tzintzún … Read More