The Brief: Texas Political News for Nov. 14, 2013

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte D-San Antonio, asks question during a Joint Committee Hearing on School Safety in the Senate Chamber on January 28th , 2013
Sen. Leticia Van de Putte D-San Antonio, asks question during a Joint Committee Hearing on School Safety in the Senate Chamber on January 28th , 2013

The Big Conversation

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, will take another step toward confirming a run for lieutenant governor by announcing that she will make a "major announcement" Nov. 23.

Let's start with the observation that this "announcement of an announcement" campaign launch strategy has maybe gotten a bit out of hand this year. But with that said, the entry of Van de Putte into the race is welcome news for Democrats who have been wishing for a bit more pizzazz at the top of their statewide ticket in recent election cycles. The Houston Chronicle's Patricia Kilday Hart reported, "Van de Putte's candidacy would be seen as a boon for state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, who faces an uphill battle in her race against Republican gubernatorial candidate and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott."

The two women are linked in the consciousness of progressives around the country for their roles in the filibuster of the abortion law in the Texas Senate the night of June 25. Davis, of course, held the floor for hours to prevent passage of the bill at the end of the first special session. But it was Van de Putte who returned to the Senate that day from her father's funeral and delivered the most memorable line of the day when she said “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?”

The two women now will no doubt be inextricably linked on the campaign trail to a degree that Democrats probably haven't seen since the so-called Dream Team of 2002.

Another Democrat filing for statewide office, comptroller candidate Mike Collier, gave the impression, though, in an interview with The Dallas Morning News' Robert Garrett that his campaign would be more "I'm my own man" than "I'm a team player."

Acknowledging that he voted for Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 Republican primary, Collier said, “I’ve always voted for the person. ... Did you see who Romney was running against? I voted against all of those other guys.”

He also told Garrett that the only time he voted in a primary was 2012 and that he backed Democrat Bill White for governor in 2010. “There’s no room for me in the Republican Party,” Collier told Garrett, noting he favors abortion rights and gay marriage.

Culled

•    Van de Putte Will Announce Future Plans on Friday (The Texas Tribune): "Sources close to state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, say she is poised to make an announcement on her political future on Friday. But the likely Democratic contender for lieutenant governor is expected to do what gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis did: reveal a future date for a formal announcement."

•    Rules in the works for UT regents’ email accounts, record requests (Austin American-Statesman): "Responding to issues raised in a legislative investigation of one of their own, University of Texas System regents are likely to adopt guidelines or rules regarding regents’ email accounts and requests for records and data. Officials had planned to take action on the matter during Thursday’s meeting of the Board of Regents but have instead put it off until a yet-to-be-scheduled meeting in December, said Karen Adler, a system spokeswoman."

•    Collier calls Texas Republicans “destructive,” says he’s at ease with “D” behind his name (The Dallas Morning News): "Freshly minted comptroller candidate Mike Collier says he’s 'very much at home in the Democratic Party,' even though he voted for Mitt Romney in the 2012 GOP presidential primary. 'I’ve always voted for the person,' Collier, a Kingwood businessman and accountant, said in an interview Tuesday. Earlier, he filed papers for his long-shot candidacy."

•    The Verdict (Texas Monthly): "Now, these grandparents remembered the days of segregation, and they wanted to show their family members that there don’t have to be barriers to achievement. I want to make sure that I don’t let them down. And how do you do that? It’s not by concentrating on race but by doing what my father did. You put your head down and try to do a really sound job with everything that you do."

Quote to Note: "I want you to remember that you all were here. I can't make an announcement tonight, but you better keep your eye on the senator from Bexar County." — state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, on the news that his colleague, Leticia Van De Putte, D-San Antonio, is expected to announce Nov. 23 she will run for lieutenant governor

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