The Brief: Top Texas News for Aug. 13, 2010

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

Falling behind on governor's race drama? Don't fret.

Even in these dog days of summer and their sometimes sparse news offerings, the candidates have offered little slowdown in a steady series of volleys the two have been firing at each other for nearly five months now — and we've still got three months to go until Election Day.

But for those needing to play catchup, Thursday conveniently offered a microcosm of the increasingly bitter race between Republican Gov. Rick Perry and Democratic opponent Bill White thus far, as the Tribune and KUT News' Ben Philpott notes. The two candidates, who both appeared — separately, as they've made a regular practice — at the Texas Association of Broadcasters' annual convention in Austin on Thursday morning, hit on almost every major talking point that has dominated the back-and-forth between the two since March.

Perry's attempts to tie White unpopular Washington were on display, as was White's characterization of Perry as a career politician promoting his own interests. White focused his speech on ethics, a theme that has drowned out most other issues with the candidates having sparred repeatedly over murky business deals. Thursday's allegations of race-baiting — one of the campaign's most ungainly spats — also popped up, as did debate over border security. And it wouldn't have been a Perry/White event without a little talk of tax returns. (The Trib's Elise Hu caught that part on video.) Later in the day, Perry also touted one of his favorite topics, jobs.

 

It's a game of chicken right now, as a political scientist tells the Houston Chronicle's Peggy Fikac. And with the heat only likely to intensify in the run-up to Nov. 2, don't expect that to change any time soon.

All caught up? This bodes well for your Friday the 13th.

CULLED:

  • State Rep. Patrick Rose's Republican opponent is filing an ethics complaint today against the Dripping Springs Democrat, accusing him of using campaign contributions to fund personal transportation expenses. Republican Jason Isaac says Rose isn't properly reporting ownership of his truck. The move comes a week after Isaac — who posted a surprisingly hefty $169,000 in his mid-year finance report last month — accused Rose of living off his campaign account. A spokesman for Rose says the charge is "silly" and says they're waiting to see the full complaint. [Editor's note: This item has been updated to say where the complaint originated and to include Rose's response.]
  • University of Texas President William Powers Jr. warned the UT System Board of Regents on Thursday that the university could face dire consequences if the Legislature cuts higher education funding by 10 percent.
  • Granbury state Sen. Brian Birdwell, caught up in controversy over residency requirements related to his eligibility to sit in the Texas Senate, said Thursday that his documented residency in another state, Virginia, was "temporary."

"I'm not going to debate in English or Spanish until Bill White releases his income tax. That's a good quote!" — Gov. Rick Perry over lunch with the San Antonio Express News' Scott Stroud

MUST-READ:

2 quick Lotto Texas winners put state in bindThe Dallas Morning News

No debating that Perry's a candidate in controlSan Antonio Express-News

Release causing new DRT discordSan Antonio Express-News

Lawmakers Worry Meritless Lawsuits Threaten Free Speech — The Texas Tribune

 

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