The Brief: Top Texas News for Nov. 5, 2012

Rick Perry stands in the spotlight while answering a question at the Smokey Row Coffee House in Oskaloosa, Iowa on December 28, 2011.
Rick Perry stands in the spotlight while answering a question at the Smokey Row Coffee House in Oskaloosa, Iowa on December 28, 2011.

The Big Conversation:

Mitt Romney got an assist from Gov. Rick Perry over the weekend as the presidential campaign barreled toward the finish line.

Less than 48 hours before Election Day, Perry helped rally support for Romney in Nevada on Sunday, telling GOP voters they could help provide the decisive vote in their critical swing state.

"Nevada may make the difference in the election. That's how close it is," Perry told a group of more than 100 volunteers at a Romney campaign office in Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I have not seen this much excitement since 2000."

Though polls have continued to show President Barack Obama holding a small but consistent lead in Nevada, the Romney campaign hasn't given up on the state. Brian Sandoval, the state's Republican governor, attended a rally in Reno on Sunday with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Paul Ryan, Romney's running mate, is scheduled to visit the state today.

For his part, Perry preceded his Nevada visit with a swing through Pennsylvania on Saturday in support of U.S. Senate candidate Tom Smith.

The Romney campaign this weekend embarked on a last-minute push to turn Pennsylvania red, but as with Nevada, state polls have shown Obama still in the lead.

Meanwhile, with Election Day approaching at home, attention has turned to money, namely the millions of dollars flowing from Texas mega-donors to the coffers of both state and national candidates. As The Dallas Morning News reports, several state contests — including the heated Fort Worth state Senate race between Democrat Wendy Davis and Republican Mark Shelton — have drawn hundreds of thousands of dollars from wealthy contributors on both sides of the tort reform battle. 

Culled:

  • The conservative blog RedState reported Sunday that it had obtained a series of provocative — and sometimes profane — emails from House Speaker Joe Straus' office showing hostility toward conservative activists and lawmakers during the 2011 redistricting process. Editor Erick Erickson, who has fiercely criticized Straus as too moderate, writes that the emails serve as proof of the speaker's contempt for conservatives. "These e-mails from the redistricting process shed new light on just how dismissive the Straus team was of Republican Party and conservative efforts to draw more fair districts," he writes, "and should serve as a warning bell to the new House that it is time for Straus to go." Texas Monthly's Paul Burka chimed in on the controversy, writing, "The stage is set for another battle between the Straus forces and the tea party forces in 2013, and the RedState emails can only add fuel to the fire."
  • Several counties throughout the state continued to break turnout records through the end of early voting last week. In Harris County, two-thirds of likely voters this year were estimated to have cast early ballots. One notable exception: Travis County, where officials say lagging early turnout — likely caused by a long ballot and decreased voter enthusiasm — may lead to long lines on Tuesday. Use our interactive to view early voting numbers for more than a dozen of the state's biggest counties.
  • State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, on Friday asked Attorney General Greg Abbott to rule whether local governmental bodies in Texas have violated the state Constitution by providing domestic parter benefits to their employees. Patrick, according to the Houston Chronicle, said his opinion request was spurred by Dallas County and the Pflugerville Independent School District in Central Texas, which both recently decided to offer such benefits. "The question is, are they pushing the envelope to the edge or are they violating the law?" Patrick said.

"What we will do instead is acknowledge that we have no special insight into the presidential election that readers can’t glean from their own attention to the news about the candidates." — The Austin American-Statesman on its decision not to issue a presidential endorsement this year

Must-Read:

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