The Brief: Top Texas News for March 4, 2013

Attorney General Greg Abbott, Gov. Rick Perry, state Rep. Senfronia Thompson and Department of Public Safety chief Steve McCraw at the signing of House Bill 3000 on May 25, 2011.
Attorney General Greg Abbott, Gov. Rick Perry, state Rep. Senfronia Thompson and Department of Public Safety chief Steve McCraw at the signing of House Bill 3000 on May 25, 2011.

The Big Conversation

The latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll contains some good news for both Gov. Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott.

In a hypothetical 2014 gubernatorial primary matchup between the two Republicans, Perry leads Abbott 49 percent to 17 percent. 

The numbers bode well for Perry, whom Public Policy Polling last month showed ahead of Abbott by just 3 points.

"You can rule out the idea that Perry is just dead," said Daron Shaw, co-director of the UT/TT Poll and a government professor at the University of Texas at Austin. "You can’t reach that conclusion."

Shaw added, however, that Perry doesn't look unbeatable.

"Abbott has a lot of room to grow," Shaw said. "If you look at the people who don’t want to vote for Perry or who want to wait and see, Abbott’s numbers are very high with those people."

Both Perry and Abbott have said they'll wait until after the the 2013 legislative session to announce whether they're running. Perry said in January that Abbott had told him he wouldn't run if Perry decided to seek re-election, but speculation about a potential face-off hasn't subsided.

If Abbott runs, he may start out with one advantage: likability. Though 29 percent of respondents said they had no opinion of him, 29 percent said they viewed him favorably, compared with 18 percent unfavorably. Perry, however, is viewed favorably by 41 percent and unfavorably by 42 percent 

Read the whole story for Texans' thoughts on Ted CruzJohn Cornyn and Barack Obama.

Culled

•    Garcia Wins Houston Senate Race (The Texas Tribune): "Former Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia defeated state Rep. Carol Alvarado for a seat in the Texas Senate, winning a runoff with 52.9 percent to Alvarado's 47.1 percent. The voting in Saturday’s runoff between the two Houston Democrats capped an expensive and hard-fought special election to replace the late Sen. Mario Gallegos, D-Houston."

•    New state senator Garcia will battle 'extremist' GOP (Houston Chronicle): "Little more than two years after a stunning loss ended her tenure on Harris County Commissioners Court, Sylvia Garcia is back, and she says she's ready to 'fight' in the Texas Senate. … The 62-year-old refused interview requests on Sunday but issued a statement saying her priorities in office will include education and opposing the Republican majority. 'I will fight to protect what is important to all constituents of Senate District 6. Whether it is protecting our precious public school funding or standing up to Rick Perry and his extremist Republicans, you can count on me to always be on your side and to be your voice,' the statement said."

•    Russians Renew Fury After Death of Adopted Boy in Texas Is Ruled Accidental (The New York Times): "Supporters of a Russian law banning adoptions by Americans reacted with renewed fury and derision on Saturday after Texas officials said that so far they had found no reason to file criminal charges against the adoptive mother of a 3-year-old boy from Russia who died under mysterious circumstances in January."

•    Twin in the Background Takes Center Stage (The Texas Tribune): "In the two months since Joaquin Castro was sworn into Congress, he has been getting even more attention than his identical twin, Julián Castro, the San Antonio mayor who gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. While there has been much chatter about Julián's possible gubernatorial ambitions, speculation is mounting that Joaquin could challenge Ted Cruz, the state’s Tea Party-backed junior U.S. senator, in 2018.

Quote of the Day: "I didn’t come here to be a wallflower, but I didn’t come here to get into a shouting match with everybody I meet either. Doing your job requires different modes, and you can’t just be stuck in one mode where you’re always the shrill outsider screaming at everybody." — U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, on his first two months in Congress

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.