The Brief: Top Texas News for Nov 18, 2009

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

Could Sarah Palin be far behind?

Yesterday, with former Vice President Dick Cheney in town stumping for his opponent, Gov. Rick Perry was asked if the former vice presidential hopeful backing him would be following suit.  His response, as reported by The Dallas Morning News’ Robert Garret:

"I suspect she's going to be down here after the first of the year," Perry said. "I don't know exactly the date but we're planning on her coming down... Sarah is a great asset that we're proud to have working with us. And look forward to having her down to Texas."

After the first of the year?  Palin will be signing copies of her new book, Going Rogue: An American Life, in Plano next month! Why the wait?

The wait ended up being a little longer than originally intended for Cheney’s big debut — but at least U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison didn’t have to miss it.  The event was pushed back two hours, enough time for Hutchison to finish working in Washington and fly down.  There might be a risk of this becoming a recurring problem now that Hutchison decided to remain in the Senate beyond the primary.  Of course, not every event features the former vice president.

So, Hutchison was at Cheney's side in front of a crowd of around 200 supporters as he said, "We Westerners know the difference between a real talker and the real deal. And when it comes to being conservative, Kay Bailey Hutchison is the real deal."

The real zinger was quoting Perry calling Hutchison “a true champion for Texas,” to which Cheney said, “I couldn’t agree more.”

CULLED:

• State Rep. Carol Kent, D-Dallas, has a new potential challenger for the seat she won last year in an upset over Tony Goolsby. Dallas lawyer Stefani Carter is expected to announce her candidacy for the Republican primary in a matter of days.  Carter will face Geoff Bailey, who works for T. Boone Pickens, in the primary.

• Texas is due to pick up a few more congressional seats after the 2010 census.  According to the Rio Grande Guardian, at least three of them can be attributed to the state’s growing Latino population. A new report produced by America’s Voice Education Fund shows that Latinos comprise 63 percent of the population growth in Texas since 2000. State Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg, hopes this bolsters the case for a new seat for South Texas.

• It’s not the kind of headline often read in this state: “Texas man wins reprieve hours before execution.” The 90-day reprieve came less than two hours before Gerald Eldridge was set to die for the murder of Cynthia Bogany and her daughter.  Prosecutors say Eldridge was faking, but a U.S. District Judge said the defense had made a “substantial threshold showing of insanity.”  Today, thirty-year old Danielle Simpson, an inmate who volunteered for execution months ago but recently changed his mind, is set to be executed for the abduction-slaying of an 84-year old East Texas woman.

"We had no physical evidence because (Chief) Paul Nelson ate it" — prosecutor Joe Greer on why the case against cook Jaime Perez — accused of spitting in Nelson’s burger — resulted in an acquittal.

MUST READ:

Republicans criticize Obama's call to delay Hill inquiries on Fort HoodThe Washington Post 

Carona update on local optionDallas Transportation blog

CASEY: Gay issue is as Houston as face-lifts Houston Chronicle

Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be SmugglersThe Texas Tribune

New immigration policies focus on employersCorpus Christi Caller-Times

Bradley calls SBOE gift reports “grossly inaccurate”Postcards

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