The Brief: Top Texas News for July 5, 2011

Gov. Rick Perry answers a reporter's question about his presidential aspirations during a bill signing on May 27, 2011.
Gov. Rick Perry answers a reporter's question about his presidential aspirations during a bill signing on May 27, 2011.

The Big Conversation:

Rick Perry's rapport with conservative Christians is no secret. But as for a presidential run, the governor may have friends in higher places than once thought.

Time reported this morning that on a conference call in early June to discuss their dissatisfaction with the current crop of Republican presidential contenders, a group of high-profile conservative Christian leaders decided that Perry was their guy.

The call included David Barton, founder of the Christian activist group WallBuilders; John Hagee, the controversial San Antonio pastor; and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

The leaders, Time notes, have stayed relatively mum on the endorsement front this season ever since conservative Christian hopefuls Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, and Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, bowed out early and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich's campaign began to unravel. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's Mormonism continues to deter some evangelicals, and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty hasn't gained much traction.

As for Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who has emerged as a possible Perry (or, potentially, Romney) spoiler? It seems the heavyweights haven't warmed to her, Time notes. "Is that sexism at work? Possibly. Maybe even probably. But geography is an important factor as well. Many Christian Right leaders think the GOP primary schedule favors a Southern candidate. And southern Minnesota does not count."

So for them it's Perry, who still hasn't made any official noise on the presidential matter. (He spent the holiday weekend recovering from minor back surgery.) And as Time reminds us, the governor has much to tout among social conservatives, including his attendance at events with Hagee and Perkins.

Culled:

  • Politico reported Friday that Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst will announce his U.S. Senate candidacy on July 18 but that the announcement could come sooner, "if advisers see fit." Who would succeed Dewhurst, by the way, if he won the Senate seat? And how would that change if, for instance, Rick Perry ran for president and, say, won? The Trib's Ross Ramsey, as always, has your answer.
  • Gov. Rick Perry late Friday afternoon announced two major appointments to two controversial state bodies. The governor selected Woodlands Republican Barbara Cargill, a staunch social conservative, to chair the State Board of Education and named Dr. Nizam Peerwani, a Fort Worth medical examiner, the new head of the Texas Forensic Science Commission.

“The governor had a lot of influence in the Texas House, in my opinion, this session — more than any session that I’ve been involved in. On a scale of 1 to 10, he was a 9 and a half.” — State Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, on the governor's mark this session

Must-Read:

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