The Brief: Top Texas News for July 8, 2013

Gov. Rick Perry addresses the National Right to Life convention.
Gov. Rick Perry addresses the National Right to Life convention.

The Big Conversation

A major announcement from Gov. Rick Perry today could mark the beginning of a new chapter in Texas politics.

As reported last week, Perry — the longest-serving governor in Texas history — has invited supporters to join him and his family at an event today in San Antonio at which he will unveil "exciting future plans."

Though he has stayed quiet about the contents of those plans, Perry is widely expected to announce that he will not seek an unprecedented fourth term as governor, likely clearing a path for Attorney General Greg Abbott to succeed him.

Small signs, like Abbott's fundraising edge and little movement inside Perry's campaign apparatus, have suggested that the governor may instead be prepping for another presidential run.

"Certainly, that's an option out there," Perry conceded yesterday on Fox News Sunday. "But again, we got a lot of work to do in [the state Capitol] over the course of the next couple of weeks that have my focus substantially more than even 2014 or 2016."

Though Perry isn't expected to say today whether he's eyeing the presidency, some observers have predicted that he may lay the groundwork for 2016 — by announcing the formation of a new Super PAC.

"What better way to win the kinds of friends he'll need than to start putting that money-raising prowess to work for potential key supporters?" the Sunlight Foundation writes.

Still, even close Perry allies have cautioned against predicting the political moves of a governor known for surprises.

As Robert Black, a former Perry aide, recently told the Tribune: "For those out there trying to read the tea leaves, don’t. Because you’re probably going to be wrong.”

Culled

•    Texas abortion bill faces one more hearing Monday (Fort Worth Star-Telegram): "Despite Democrats’ requests for a series of hearings statewide, Sen. Jane Nelson has scheduled one hearing on the abortion restrictions bill. The hearing, to begin at 10 a.m. Monday at the Texas Capitol, will be at least the third time this year that testimony will be taken in a Senate committee on the proposal. 'Due to the time constraints of the 30-day special session, and in keeping with normal Senate procedures, our hearing will take place in the Texas Capitol and will be open to the public,' Nelson, R-Flower Mound, said in a letter sent to other senators this week." 

•    Perry decision may set up big shuffle for Dallas-Fort Worth offices (The Dallas Morning News): "When Gov. Rick Perry announces his political plans Monday, it will be the catalyst for the biggest reshuffle in Texas Republican politics in 12 years. … Perry’s announcement will also start the dominoes rolling in North Texas, where a trio of candidates is expected to run for statewide office, thus opening up their current political posts for other hopefuls."

•    Time, money lacking in push to sell ‘Obamacare’ to Texans (Austin American-Statesman): "With only three months until people can begin enrolling in health insurance plans that are now being touted nationwide, on street corners and TV screens and from the mouth of the federal government, Texas is playing catch-up. Elsewhere, state governments have orchestrated multimillion-dollar publicity blasts — California’s budget is more than $100 million. But with state leadership that has rebuffed the health care law, the only government funding available for outreach efforts in Texas so far is about $10 million from the federal level."

•    Bush Says Congress Should Act on Immigration (The New York Times): "Former President George W. Bush, who normally stays out of current political issues, waded briefly into the immigration debate in an interview broadcast on Sunday, urging Congress to pass legislation to overhaul the system. 'It’s very important to fix a broken system, to treat people with respect and have confidence in our capacity to assimilate people,' Mr. Bush said on the ABC News program 'This Week.' 'It’s a very difficult bill to pass because there’s a lot of moving parts. And the legislative process can be ugly. But it looks like they’re making some progress.' … His comments came days before he is to host a naturalization ceremony at his new presidential center just outside Dallas. On Wednesday, he will deliver an address on the virtues of immigration before 20 people are sworn in as citizens."

Quote to Note: "Don’t get me wrong. I have always wanted Wendy to be my governor. But I don’t want everyone to get carried away with the events of the day without the mathematics having changed." — Democratic mega-donor Amber Mostyn to The New Republic on state Sen. Wendy Davis

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.