The Brief: Perry Says Farewell, but This Cowboy Isn't Riding Away

The Big Conversation

You know what the best thing is about being Texas governor? Giving a speech at the GOP state convention early enough to be back in Austin to catch the half-pipe competition two blocks away from your home.

In all seriousness, it was all about Rick Perry on Thursday. From the Houston Chronicle:

In a rousing address that had conventioneers on their feet several times with wild applause, Perry implored the 11,000 delegates to the GOP's biennial state convention to help export the "Texas miracle" of double-digit job growth and conservative principles.

And here's the Austin American-Statesman:

Perry’s speech, which clocked in a little over 30 minutes, was flawlessly delivered before an audience of delegates who will be participating in a presidential straw poll, in which Sen. Ted Cruz, who will speak Friday, is likely to score a first-place finish. But Perry’s speech showed what made him look like front-runner material when he ran for president in 2012 until a ragged performance cost him his standing.

But getting back to Cruz. The Statesman's Ken Herman was in a nostalgic mood on Thursday, looking back to 2011, when Perry was in the ascendant and Cruz was a long-shot candidate for the U.S. Senate. That certainly is not the case today.

And as Cruz’s star power rises, Perry’s seems to be fading, even among his own kind in his own state. Texas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri expects Cruz to take a big win over Perry and others in the presidential straw poll at the GOP state convention now underway in Fort Worth.

Cruz, says Munisteri, is “just so incredibly popular.” That sentiment prevails at this convention, as does a feeling that Perry is in the rearview mirror.

The Day Ahead

•    The second day of the Republican Party of Texas state convention in Fort Worth features speeches by U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky. In addition, gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott addresses the convention. An evening gala honors "Courageous GOP Women."

•    Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor Leticia Van de Putte is in Dallas for an evening fundraiser hosted by Dallas lawyer Domingo Garcia and his wife, Elba.

Today in the Trib

Texas' Shift From Blue to Red Informs 2014 Races: "In 1961, a political science professor from Wichita Falls became the first Texas Republican to win a statewide seat since Reconstruction. It took another 37 years for the party to sweep the other major offices."

Despite Demand, Halfway Houses Struggle to Provide Care: "A small fraction of the tens of thousands of inmates released in Texas each year find spots in state-contracted halfway houses. For many inmates, the private market is not an easy option either."

Analysis: Paxton's Legal Trouble Puts Abbott in a Bind: "Ken Paxton's violation of securities law gives Sam Houston, his opponent in the AG's race, something to talk about for the next five months. It could also limit one of Greg Abbott’s lines of attack against Wendy Davis."

Must-Read

Davis campaign agrees to date for gubernatorial debate in Rio Grande Valley, McAllen Monitor

Garcia: Straus doesn't sweat Turner's challenge, San Antonio Express-News

Falkenberg: Republican speaks from the heart on city ordinance, Houston Chronicle

Fight over GOP immigration stance expected at state convention, Austin American-Statesman

Flow of heroin into Houston surges, Houston Chronicle

Faces of an Immigration System Overwhelmed by Women and Children, The New York Times

State governments may be expanding wealth gap, The Associated Press

Quote to Note

"Washington Democrats think Texas is their new battleground. Texas will be their political burial ground."

— Texas Gov. Rick Perry, in his address to the GOP state convention in Fort Worth on Thursday, sounding nothing like someone about to ride off into the sunset

Today in TribTalk

Republicans must make room for gays, by Jeff Davis and Christopher Busby: "Thankfully, common-sense conservatives across Texas — and the country — know who we are, what we believe in, and that we are a vital part of winning elections and keeping Texas red."

GOP voters are being misled on spending, by Jim Keffer: "In fact, the Republican-dominated Legislature last session passed a balanced state budget and cut over $1 billion in state taxes and fees. But that’s not the story told this primary election cycle by the politically active Midland oilman Tim Dunn and the corporate policy groups he finances, like the Texas Public Policy Foundation and Empower Texans."

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    The Texas Tribune Festival runs from Sept. 19-21 at the University of Texas at Austin. Tickets are on sale now.