The Brief: Top Texas News for Oct. 27, 2010

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

In the run-up to the big day, money's flowing. But does it matter?

To the candidates and their attempts at closing the deal, certainly. As the Tribune's Ross Ramsey reports today, the last month saw $43.5 million passing between hands statewide for political purposes. Gov. Rick Perry's campaign alone spent a whopping $16.1 million during that time, and money has turned up the heat in several legislative races, like Republican state Rep. Linda Harper-Brown and Democrat Loretta Haldenwang's fight in Irving, which has drawn more than $1 million.

But for candidates looking to pounce on their opponents' sources of funding, they're working against the clock. Candidates didn't have to report the past month's campaign contributions until Monday, eight days before Election Day — not a lot of time to mount an attack on opponent's potentially controversial donors.

"The general consensus among operatives is, it's too late to do anything with it," a Republican consultant tells the Austin American-Statesman, which today has a look at so-called late money, with which donors and interest groups can avoid scrutiny.

Most prominent so far has been Bob Perry, the Houston home builder who was recently reported to have given millions to groups benefiting Republicans, including Gov. Rick Perry. (Bob Perry, though, has emerged as just one one of the quiet outside figures making big financial pushes in campaigns across the U.S.)

But smaller contests statewide are also drawing late money, the Statesman notes, including two Austin-area races between Democratic Rep. Valinda Bolton and Republican Paul Workman, and state Rep. Diana Maldonado and Republican Larry Gonzales, all of whom have raised thousands of dollars from interest groups, much of it within the past month.

CULLED:

  • Countering Gov. Rick Perry's recent immigration ad featuring the widow of a slain Houston police officer, Bill White's campaign on Tuesday released "Ten Years," accusing Perry of removing names of deported sex offenders from state records.
  • Judge Sharon Keller, with whom the Tribune recently had a rare on-camera interview, learned Tuesday that the battle over her sanction by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct isn't over.

"They can’t give you freedom and then take it away."Marvin Brown, a convicted sex offender released from jail in 1999 who sued in federal court Tuesday challenging Gov. Rick Perry's order that registered sex offenders wear ankle bracelets to monitor their whereabouts

MUST-READ:

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.