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Inside Texas Politics: Covering the caucuses in Iowa as the 2020 elections heat up

Live from Iowa, "Inside Texas Politics" takes a look at elections big and small in 2020.

It's time for Iowa-- the pomp and circumstance of the run-up to the caucuses is already well underway, so WFAA took the show to the cornfields to take a look at all things 2020. Jason Whitely hosted "Inside Texas Politics" from Des Moines, Iowa, this week.

NEWSMAKER

While Jason Whitely was in Iowa covering the caucuses, not every Democratic candidate running for president was there with him. Mike Bloomberg skipped campaigning in the state because he jumped into the race late.

RELATED: For Bloomberg to win Texas, who must win Iowa?

However, his campaign is closely watching the caucuses, because Bloomberg will face the winner in Texas on Super Tuesday. Bloombergs national campaign manager Kevin Sheekey joined Whitely from New York City to discuss which candidate the campaign would like to see win. 

STATEWIDE

The Democratic Party suffered a crushing defeat last week in the special election for the open state house seat in Fort Bend County. Even national Democratic candidates campaigned in House District 28. 

RELATED: Michael Bloomberg campaigns in Houston a day after Republicans win big in Fort Bend County

The race was thought to be a test of the energy that Texas Democrats have entering 2020, but Republican Gary Gates beat Democrat Eliz Markowitz by 16 percentage points. 

Ross Ramsey, the co-founder and executive editor of the Texas Tribune, joined Whitely from Austin to discuss the takeaways from this special election. 

Jason and Ross also talked about Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s decision not to defend a state agency in a gay marriage case.

MY VOICE, MY OPINION

As the United States Congress spent the last couple of weeks immersed in impeachment hearings, President Trump was busy making policy changes that affected millions of Americans. That's something author and producer Katie Sherrod took note of with this week’s My Voice, My Opinion.

NEWSMAKER 2

The biggest statewide race in Texas this year is the one for a U.S. Senate seat. Over the last couple of months, Inside Texas Politics has introduced the Democrats that will appear on the Super Tuesday ballot on March 3. This week, state Sen. Royce West joined host Jason Whitely to discuss what sets his candidacy apart from the others, as well as the struggle to make the runoff.

RELATED: Inside Texas Politics: What to expect in Texas politics come 2020

FLASHPOINT

One of the biggest questions facing the Democratic party this election cycle is whether it will move to the left, or towards the center? That question sparked the debate this week in Flashpoint. From the right — Wade Emmert — the former chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party. And from the left, Rich Hancock from VirtualNewsCenter.com.

ROUNDTABLE 

Ross Ramsey, Bud Kennedy and Berna Dean Steptoe, WFAA's political producer, joined Jason from Texas to give perspective on the recent Texas Lyceum 2020 poll that showed Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders widening their lead in the state. 

Could Sanders become the likely nominee if he has a strong showing in Iowa or New Hampshire and does well in Texas? Ross, Bud, Berna Dean and Jason also weighed in on the debate among Texas Republican officials about whether to let the Log Cabin Republicans — the LGBT group — have a stronger role in the party.

RELATED: Live Blog: Covering the Iowa Caucuses with a Texan point of view

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