The Brief: Texas Political News for Dec. 4, 2013

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, officially files her candidacy for governor in front of a crowd of supporters at uShip’s headquarters in Austin on Nov. 9, 2013.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, officially files her candidacy for governor in front of a crowd of supporters at uShip’s headquarters in Austin on Nov. 9, 2013.

The Big Conversation

Wendy Davis released three years' worth of tax returns late Tuesday, matching the level of disclosure of Greg Abbott and shedding additional light on how she's made a living beyond the Capitol.

The returns, which were made available to The Texas Tribune's Jay Root, had been long anticipated because of expectations that the Democrat's legal work would come under scrutiny in what is sure to be a bruising general election campaign for governor next year.

The topline numbers show that her income has more than doubled in those three years — from $130,931 in 2010 to $284,183 in 2012. In addition, the returns indicate that the lion's share of her income during that period came from her work for two law firms — the Cantey Hanger firm and her own firm Newby Davis, both of Fort Worth.

Root reports: "As in her 2012 re-election race, Davis’ income from Newby Davis is sure to be a flashpoint in the race for governor. She launched the firm three years ago with Brian Newby, Republican Gov. Rick Perry’s former chief of staff. They have numerous public-sector clients, including the North Texas Tollway Authority, the DFW Airport Board and the Fort Worth Independent School district, all of which have interests before the Legislature.

 

"Davis has so far declined to release a full list of public-sector clients for whom she has provided legal services. Her campaign told The Texas Tribune last month she is no longer accepting legal clients while wrapping up her responsibilities to clients she already has. She also is asking public entities for their permission to release information about them, her campaign said."

Culled

•    New Texas rules could create added burden in health insurance sign-ups, critics say (Austin American-Statesman): "As more Texans successfully signed up for insurance on a retooled federal health care website Tuesday, the state proposed rules that critics say could pose new hurdles for those seeking insurance."

•    Texas chief justice's ethics case dragging into 5th year (Houston Chronicle): "Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, already the longest-serving member of the state's highest civil court, has the dubious distinction of owning another record: the longest running appeal of a state ethics fine. With the case dragging into its fifth year, watchdog groups are pointing the finger at Attorney General Greg Abbott for not pressing harder in court for a final resolution."

•    Rick Perry touts governors as best presidents in SC visit (The State): "Texas Gov. Rick Perry touted how governors who need to find their own solutions make the best presidents before a group of South Carolinians who might consider voting for the Republican in another White House run in 2016."

•    Both Parties Battle Long Odds in Quest to Capture New Majorities (National Journal): "As Democrats attempt to gain the 17 seats they need to win a House majority and Republicans work toward a six-seat net gain to capture an equally important Senate majority, each side faces an uphill slog—fighting inertia as much as anything else."

•    Report: Child Poverty Increases in Texas (The Texas Tribune): "In rapidly growing Texas, which is home to one in 11 children in the United States, child poverty has continued to increase despite an improving economy, according to a report released Tuesday."

Quote to Note: “Governors, like Nikki Haley, who know they are in competition and put on their running shoes make the rest of us uncomfortable.” — Gov. Rick Perry, lauding his counterpart's attempts to make the Palmetto State more competitive economically

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