The Back MicThe Back Mic: Democrat Buys Ads on Joe Rogan, 2030 Employment Projections Released, Ethics Commission Requests Server Upgrade After Crash

This week — Mike Collier buys political ads in an unconventional place, the Texas Workforce Commission releases next-decade employment estimates, and Beto O’Rourke’s six-figure-paged finance report prompts an urgent request from a state agency.
August 5, 2022
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Democrat Collier Places Ads on Joe Rogan, Howard Stern 

The Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, Mike Collier, has come out swinging against Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. His campaign announced this week that it’d place campaign ads on the Joe Rogan and Howard Stern YouTube shows.

The ad is titled “Fix The Damn Grid” and hits Patrick for the state “staring down more blackouts” — a headliner of Collier’s campaign platform.

While the grid’s been stressed at times during the heat of the past three months, it has withstood it all without grid-related blackouts. Any loss of power since the February 2021 winter storm has been a local transmission problem — at no point since then has the state’s grid had a shortfall in capacity to meet demand.

“This campaign will play offense and play offense early, because this election is a referendum on Dan Patrick’s eight years in office and his failures to fix the damn grid, reduce our property taxes, and support our public schools,” Ali Zaidi, Collier’s campaign manager, said in a statement.

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“With 4 months to close a narrow 4-point gap, this is the next step in a multimillion-dollar effort to remind millions of Texans that in the wake of a catastrophic, deadly freeze, their energy prices skyrocketed while Dan Patrick put his rich campaign donors on the ERCOT board.”

Both Rogan and Stern have massive audiences leaning younger and heavily male. Collier’s buy is an effort to appeal to non-traditional voter bases in his second consecutive bid to unseat Patrick.

2030 State Employment Projections Released

After a rocky couple of years caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the State of Texas released its 2030 employment projections. In total, the Texas Workforce Commission estimates state employment to grow 18 percent by 2030, amounting to 2.4 million additional jobs.

Once the brunt of the pandemic and resulting government-mandated closures subsided, employment in Texas jumped to record numbers in terms of raw numbers. The state’s unemployment rate currently sits around 4 percent, still somewhat higher than before the pandemic.

The business sectors expected to grow the most percentage-wise are leisure and hospitality; natural resources and mining, under which falls the oil and gas industry; professional and business services; and construction.

Data from the Texas Workforce Commission
O’Rourke Finance Report Prompts Texas Ethics Commission Upgrade Request

The 102,407-page finance report from the Beto O’Rourke campaign caused a stir after the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) servers crashed while trying to upload the massive stack of paperwork. According to a report by the Dallas Morning News, the TEC has requested funding from the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) to upgrade its computer servers.

“The TEC’s electronic filing system recently experienced a mission-critical failure,” reads a letter from the TEC to the LBB. “The TEC’s hardware — purchased in 2013-14 and operated locally from the Sam Houston State Office Building — was unable to keep up with the rapidly increasing number of political contributions being made to Texas candidates.”

The agency is requesting $756,000 to move the filing operations to the cloud, servers accessed over the internet that don’t require a hardwire connection to an on-site server.

“Without an emergency grant, the system will likely fail again in October,” the agency emphasized.

The letter compares the load faced today by their equipment with the gubernatorial filings from 2018.

Back then, the average contribution haul in the July semiannual filing period was $5.6 million and the average report size was 7,420 pages long. In 2022, the average haul between O’Rourke and Gov. Greg Abbott was $25.7 million with an average report page number of 23,668.

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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.