The Brief: Texas Political News for Oct. 23, 2013

Ted Nugent at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas.
Ted Nugent at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas.

The Big Conversation

A tame 2014 down-ballot race picked up a little star power on Tuesday.

Rock musician and conservative firebrand Ted Nugent, best known in recent years for hurling profane insults at President Barack Obama and other Democrats, told the Tribune that he has signed on to serve as treasurer and co-chairman of former state Rep. Sid Miller's campaign for agriculture commissioner.

"I believe in guys who stand by the Constitution," Nugent, a Waco resident, said by phone while hanging a mounted ram on a wall in his home, as the Tribune's Neena Satija reports. "I believe in guys who represent 'we the people' and common sense."

Miller, of Stephenville, declared his candidacy last week, a day after state Rep. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, left the race to run for state Senate instead. In the GOP primary, Miller will face former state Rep. Tommy Merritt of Longview, who also announced his candidacy last week; Uvalde Mayor J Allen Carnes; and Austin lawyer Eric Opiela

Kinky Friedman, another musician known for his freewheeling quotes, is so far the only Democrat in the race.

Nugent said this was his first official role in a political campaign. He added that he would "do media every day, and I'll raise as much hell as I can."

Earlier this year, Nugent made headlines after he attended the State of the Union address as a guest of U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Friendswood.

Months before, he declared at a National Rifle Association convention that he would be "dead or in jail" if Obama won re-election.

Culled

•    Court Battle Continues Over Texas Abortion Regulations (The Texas Tribune): "Abortion providers and state attorneys will present their final arguments Wednesday morning on whether the restrictions on the procedure in House Bill 2 are constitutional. 'What I want is focused argument on this statute and why it lives or dies under the law as it exists at this time,' said U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, who has allotted one hour for each side to make its final argument."

•    Democratic Mega-Donor Forms New Trial Lawyer Association (TT): "Move over, Texas Trial Lawyers Association. There's a new group in town: the Texas Association of Consumer Lawyers. Democratic mega-donor Steve Mostyn says he formed the group because he wants more cash to go straight into campaign coffers."

•    Pitts: Enough Evidence to Impeach UT Regent Hall (TT): "Testifying before a legislative committee on Tuesday, state Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, made his case for why he believes University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall should be impeached. 'I do believe that there is enough evidence to show that Mr. Hall should not be allowed to continue in his current capacity as a regent,' Pitts told the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Operations, which is investigating whether articles of impeachment should be filed against Hall."

•    Sebelius Thrust Into Firestorm on Exchanges (The New York Times): "[KathleenSebelius’s decision to leave Washington this week — she will speak at a gala at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston on Wednesday night, then travel to promote the health care law in Phoenix; Austin, Tex.; and San Antonio — caused an uproar among Republicans who said she has not explained why the Web site failed and how the government plans to fix it."

•    U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz brings crusade to Tarrant County (Fort Worth Star-Telegram): "U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz received a hero’s welcome during a swing through Tarrant County on Tuesday as he continued to drum up support for his battle to end the country’s new healthcare program. Denounced by top leaders in his own party for what they called a 'fool’s errand' and by Democrats for bringing the economy close to collapse, a crowd of more than 1,000 at the Arlington Music Hall gave him a more than 12-minute standing ovation that included whistles, applause and chants of 'Thank you, Ted,' 'Cruz' and 'USA.'"

•    Houston first stop for Clinton fundraisers in Texas (Houston Chronicle): "A drumbeat for another Clinton presidential campaign struck in Houston Tuesday night as Democrats gathered for the first 'Ready for Hillary' fundraiser in Texas. The national grass-roots movement encouraging the former secretary of state, former U.S. senator and former first lady to run for president began in April. The effort has more than 1 million supporters and 20,000 donors — 97 percent of whom gave $100 or less, according to a group spokesman."

Quote to Note: "I’m not interested in being part of a country club. I’m interested in getting something done." — Steve Mostyn, a trial lawyer and the state's top Democratic donor, on the formation of a new trial lawyer group

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