HOUSTON (FOX 26) - A week out from the midterm election and the Bayou City was buzzing with political activity driven in large part by the words and actions of President Donald Trump
As a massive caravan of Central American immigrants draws ever closer to Texas, President Trump's deployment of 5,000 troops to the border sent shock waves through the Lone Star Senate race.
As Democratic Senate Candidate Beto O'Rourke rallied with supporters at polling spots across Houston, he accused the president of spreading paranoia and fear.
"The number of troops he wants to send to the border is more than the number of troops we have in Iraq right now. The border is not a war zone. These migrants and some refugees are hundreds of miles from the border. This country should be able to meet a humanitarian crisis not with military force, but with some compassion," said O'Rourke.
The president is also threatening an executive order outlawing birthright citizenship as proscribed by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, an action so controversial, it sparked strong reaction from Texas Senator John Cornyn.
"The caravan of individuals, in defiance of our laws and a demonstration of a lack of respect for people who are doing immigration in the right way, I think it causes a backlash," said Cornyn, adding, "We need less posturing and less rhetoric on this and more solutions."
Meantime in Houston's Midtown the integrity of this midterm came under fire from State Senator Paul Bettencourt and Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart.
They presented strong evidence that thousands are illegally listing "mail shops" as their legal residence - on the voting rolls, on driver's licenses and subsequently the County's jury pool.
"There's nobody out here that could possibly think that 84 people live at this UPS store. It's preposterous. It has to stop," said Bettencourt at a press conference on the side of a business which rents hundreds of postal boxes.
"If they are lying, they are lying on a document that they can be prosecuted with. So, please don't get yourself in trouble. Don't lie that you live in a location like this, because now you are breaking the law, lying on a state document," said Stanart.
Bettencourt says at least 50 voters list the Harris County Jail, a public building, as their permanent residence.
Multiple calls to Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar Ann Harris Bennett
All these developments are unfolding as Texans flock to the polls in record numbers to cast ballots early.
In Ft. Bend County, Governor Greg Abbott appeared confident that surge is mostly benefiting Republicans.
"Either we are going to elect Republicans who are going to cut your taxes or elect Democrats who are going to raise your taxes. Either we are going to elect Republicans who are going to secure the border or elect Democrats who are going to open the border," said Abbott.
Early voting continues through Friday.