The Signal’s morning headlines 7.31.19

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Cornyn’s New TV ad

Last night during the Democratic presidential debate, Sen. John Cornyn ran his first TV ad. The ad, airing in the Austin market, painted Dallas’ Royce West, one of the Democrats challenging Cornyn for the U.S. Senate seat, as an “ultra-liberal.” It’s unclear if Team Cornyn is *trying* to make the general election matchup with West because they think they can beat him, or if they genuinely fear him. What is clear is that Cornyn is vulnerable – he has a 25% approval by registered Texas voters, according to polling out yesterday by the University of Texas at Tyler. Democrats, this time around, are starting early to define the senior senator, with a special focus on his health care record. (It’s awful).  Yesterday the Texas Democratic Party began running digital ads attacking his health care record.

Presidential debates

ICYMI our wrap-up story from last night’s debate, it’s here. What’s key from a Texas perspective is that we’re a swing state at the presidential level. Beto O’Rourke hit that point home last night. “There’s a new battleground state– Texas, and it has 38 electoral college votes. Those 38 Electoral College votes are now in play, and I can win them. That is how we defeat Donald Trump in November 2020.” Tonight, Julian Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, along with Joe Biden and 8 other candidates, are debating on CNN beginning at 7pm central. Biden is beating Trump in Texas, by the way.

Big news on criminal justice reform

Harris County passed a historic proposal Tuesday that implements bail reform. No misdemeanor defendant will be locked up simply because they don’t have the money to pay bail. Under the old system, people with means posted bail while those with low incomes served jail time, some even admitting guilt just to get out of jail. “This is what building a fair, effective criminal justice system looks like,” tweeted Harris County’s chief executive Lina Hidalgo.

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