All eyes on nation's reddest state this session

SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson talks about the attention Texas will draw because of its political redness and the governor's promise not to raise taxes.


When Texas lawmakers convene beneath Austin's pink-hued capitol dome Tuesday morning, the interior of the venerable building will be fervid red. With two-thirds control of the House, nearly two-thirds control of the Senate, the longest-serving governor in state history and control of every statewide office, Texas Republicans enjoy near-total dominance — dominance not seen since now-anemic Democrats ruled what was essentially a one-party state throughout much of the 20th century.

Other states are GOP-dominated, but Texas is "the iconic red state," said SMU political scientist Cal Jillson. "Of the consequential states, Texas is certainly the reddest."

How Republicans govern this iconic red state during the next five months of what promises to be a raucous session will have consequences for the state's future, of course, but it also is likely to have national implications — for the party and for Gov. Rick Perry. . .

"Given complete Republican control and given their stated goal of balancing the budget solely by cutting and maybe by limited increases in fees - if they can do that," Jillson said, "it would be something that the national Republican party will take note of. And it will certainly increase Rick Perry's stature, not just his visibility."

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