The Brief: Top Texas News for July 5, 2012

The Big Conversation:

Lobbyists have set off the latest round of back-and-forth between Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst over where they're getting their money.

As the Tribune's Aman Batheja and Jay Root report today, Dewhurst has drawn 26 times as much money from Texas lobbyists as Cruz, $189,869 to $11,750. Cruz has seized on those numbers and points to something nefarious at play.

"Everyone who has business in front of the state Legislature — 100 percent of them — are with David Dewhurst, and they have to be," Cruz said. "I have heard from dozens of people who have been told in no uncertain terms, if they ever want a bill to pass the Texas Legislature, they will support David Dewhurst for the Senate, and we knew that when we started."

Cruz, meanwhile, has drawn $120,148 from Washington, D.C.-based lobbyists, while Dewhurst has received less than $25,000 from them.

 

“Washington special interests are supporting Ted Cruz because they know he will be beholden to them and help carry out their agenda, which has driven our country further to the brink of disaster,” said Dewhurst spokesman Matt Hirsch.

Though some lobbyists said they supported Dewhurst simply because they work closely with him and know him well, another said expressing support for Cruz could put his job on the line.

"The last thing you want to be is on an enemies list for not having given" to Dewhurst, the lobbyist said. "He’s been in office forever, so he’s got a network of staff people and you see them on the street and they are pressuring you left and right to support the guy. … I’m toast if I’m out there openly supporting Cruz."

The latest spat over lobbyists donations comes amid debate over who's attracting more money from Super PACs and what that means for the campaign. Cruz this week also faced scrutiny for support he has received from a gay billionaire who supports same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization.

Culled:

  • Mexico will recount more than half the votes cast in its presidential elections Sunday after irregularities were found in final counts. Though Enrique Peña Nieto, a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, led with 38 percent of the vote after Sunday, Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the Democratic Revolution Party, who finished second with 32 percent, has refused to concede. Claims of vote-buying have also surfaced surfaced since Sunday.
  • Preliminary results from the state's new STAAR exams appeared to show high school students performing poorly in several areas, but as the Austin American-Statesman reports, a new analysis from the Texas Education Agency shows that passing rates among elementary and middle school students would have remained about the same compared to standards used in the state's previous testing system, TAKS.
  • Elizabeth Ames Jones has endorsed Dr. Donna Campbell in her Senate District 25 runoff with incumbent state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, the San Antonio Express-News reported Tuesday. Jones, who waged a fierce battle with Wentworth during the primary but finished a surprising third, said in a letter to supporters that voters must "make sure our next senator more closely reflects the conservative outlook of this region and this state and understands that the voters want a new perspective in the Capitol."

Must-Read:

 

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