The Brief: Top Texas News for Feb 19, 2010

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

The slugfest between the leading candidates for Texas’ most coveted seats in state government has put something of a dent in Texas’ voter apathy. Okay, so it might be early to write such a blanket statement, but turnout at the polls in Texas’ largest counties so far indicate that it is, at least, a possibility. From Texas Weekly: During early voting, the Texas Secretary of State tallies voter turnout in the state's 15-largest counties. In 2006, 40,492 people voted in the first two days of early voting — about one half of 1 percent of the registered voters in Texas. In the first two days of early voting this time around, it's more than double that with 87,704 people having cast ballots so far. That’s about 1.1 percent of the registered voters.

Republicans and Democrats are both turning out more so this year than in 2006, but Republicans, at least on the surface, seem more intrigued with their choices than Democrats. The GOP voters accounted for 58 percent of the early voters in the 15 counties. Last time around they were 46 percent of the voters on the first two days.

With more than a week left in early voting, possible run-offs next month and the General Election in November, there is still much to be told. But for now, the closer GOP race for governor could be assumed to be the reason more Republicans are casting ballots early. The Democrats have a bigger gap between their leading candidates.

In case you were wondering: Republicans had the turnout advantage in 2006, with 626,732 voters to the Democrats' 501,233; Democrats had it in 2002, with 974,149 voters to the GOP's 624,716. In 2002, about 32 percent of all primary voters voted early; in 2006, it was just fewer than 40 percent.

 

Update: Dallas County GOP Chairman Jonathan Neerman emailed this morning to say early voting in the GOP primary in Dallas County is, so far, three times greater compared to the two-day tally of early voting in 2006.

CULLED

  • It’s not just the candidates for state governor that are getting some ink from Texas’ largest newspapers. The Democratic nominees for the lieutenant governor post are also being acknowledged by editorial boards, and on Thursday the Fort Worth Star-Telegram gave its nod to Linda Chavez-Thompson. It called the Lubbock native and former vice-chairwoman of the National Democratic party a “tough but reasonable negotiator.” The Houston Chronicle, meanwhile, likes former Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle for the spot, touting what it thinks could be Earle’s ability to work with both parties and avoid “paralyzing the legislative process.”
  • The Economist says the GOP race for governor is all but said and done, noting Rick Perry has weathered an early storm to take command of next month’s primary. “A year ago, the nation was aflush with Obama fever, the District of Columbia was briefly gilded with glamour and Mr. Perry’s insistence that Mrs. Hutchison was too tied to the federal capital did not resonate much,” it reports. Though Perry has been quiet on the issue, it also dares to speculate what 2012 could have in store for a person who has, to date, been a state governor for a decade. The progressive Texas Observer, not to be outdone, has its own profile on Debra Medina. The publication said on its Facebook page that although some might not agree with her politics, her grass-roots campaign should be admired for its ability to keep up with political heavyweights.

MUST READ:

John Carona, the Last RepublicanD Magazine

GOP rivals for State House District 65 tangle over budget, immigration issues at forumThe Dallas Morning News

The Old College Try ­— Texas Tribune

The survivorThe Economist

Plane hits Northwest Austin office buildingAustin American Statesman

More cases of military corruption connected to Iraq warSan Antonio Express News

 

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