The Brief: San Antonio on Verge of Big Water Play

San Antonio on verge of big water play; Understanding the shale boom; Texplainer: Do falling oil prices threaten the budget?; Settled Into GOP, Lozano hopes to hold district; Hegar, Collier clash on credentials, taxes; Dewhurst asks for price tag to expand border operations.

Vote Set on San Antonio's Historic Water Gamble

As the San Antonio City Council prepares to take action on a controversial new water supply project, it remains unclear if the $3.4 billion undertaking — which would pipe in 16 billion gallons of groundwater annually from 142 miles away — is really necessary.

Susan Hawk outspending Craig Watkins in DA race

Hawk, a former state district judge, raised $342,441 from Sept. 9 to Oct. 25. Financial reports released this week show she spent $416,886 during the same period and has $239,427 in her campaign account. Meanwhile, Watkins, the two-term incumbent, raised $44,850 for the period and spent $33,379. He has $61,000 left in his campaign account, though both candidates are still raising money.

After GOP apology, Anderson says fax troubles led to botched complaint

Rodney Anderson blamed a botched fax for a chain of errors that ultimately led the state Republican Party to retract attack ads and apologize to his Democratic opponent for House District 105. And in his first public comments since the unraveling of his accusations that Democrat Susan Motley was breaking the law by campaigning, Anderson announced that he would not press them further.

Dallas tax firm a big contributor to front-runner for comptroller

Nearly 1 of every 6 dollars that Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, received in campaign contributions came from employees of Ryan LLC or the company’s political committee. The Dallas-based tax firm works to help major corporations, such as Wal-Mart, ExxonMobil and Verizon, secure tax breaks. A Ryan LLC tax consultant represented nearly 60 percent of all incentives approved under the Enterprise Zone Program, which offers tax breaks to businesses that open shop in poor areas, in the last three years, records obtained by The Dallas Morning News show.

In Denton, tension mounts ahead of fracking ban vote

With Denton preparing to vote Tuesday on banning hydraulic fracturing within city limits, tension has mounted as rival groups work to undermine each other. The election has turned into a flash point for a national debate on the oil and gas drilling boom. Towns in New York and Colorado have voted in similar bans. But this would be the first such prohibition in Texas, the home of the country’s energy industry, probably setting off a long legal fight if it passes.

Randy Forbes vies for House Armed Services gavel

  • suggested by John Reynolds

Rep. Randy Forbes says he’ll challenge Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas for the House Armed Services Committee gavel. The Virginia Republican told POLITICO he plans to mount a bid after Tuesday’s midterm elections to replace retiring Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) at the helm of the powerful committee.

The Green Monster

  • suggested by John Reynolds

It has paid for quite a force: Customs and Border Protection not only employs some 60,000 total personnel—everything from desert agents on horseback to insect inspectors at airports—but also operates a fleet of some 250 planes, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles like the Predator drones the military sent to Iraq and Afghanistan, making CBP both the largest law enforcement air force in the world and equivalent roughly to the size of Brazil’s entire combat air force.

Gohmert blasts idea of allowing foreign nationals with Ebola into US

  • suggested by John Reynolds

"Completely ignoring the fatal nature of Ebola in horrible ways evidences the callous, wanton disregard for the American lives by President Obama and his appointees took an oath to protect," Gohmert said in a statement. The Texas Republican said the administration should prioritize American lives. "The evidence that the Obama administration is attempting to sneak foreign Ebola patients into the United States is electrifying since they have not even been able to say where the United States military that he sent to Africa could go if they get the Ebola virus," Gohmert said.

Rep. Forbes to run for Armed Services gavel

  • suggested by John Reynolds

Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) will run for the chairmanship of the powerful House Armed Services Committee after the elections. A spokesman for Forbes confirmed that after months of flirting with a run, the congressman has decided to challenge Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) for the top spot on the panel.

Glimpse of Texas’s political future?

  • suggested by John Reynolds

Democratic freshman Rep. Pete Gallego and GOP challenger Will Hurd will be the only two Texans sweating their state’s congressional elections next week.  Gallego is well-known in the area thanks to his tenure in the state House. He also served as the head of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, a group of Texas state representatives who lobby for issues affecting Hispanics.

Davis talks education, not abortion at A&M-CC

A cheering crowd of college students welcomed State Sen. Wendy Davis to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Wednesday, where the Democratic Party candidate for governor talked about education funding and made only a passing reference to her famous abortion rights filibuster.

Fort Worth is ground zero for Texas governor’s race

Fort Worth was the battleground in the Texas gubernatorial race — at least on Wednesday. Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Democrat state Sen. Wendy Davis met separately with supporters in Fort Worth, encouraging them to vote early or on Election Day on Tuesday.

Texas comptroller candidates spar over experience

A relatively quiet debate between Texas comptroller candidates ended sharply Wednesday night with Republican state Sen. Glenn Hegar complaining about “misleading attacks” and Democrat Mike Collier declaring it “almost comical” that his opponent, “a career politician, would lecture a 30-year business executive about job creation.”

Nurse's willingness to quarantine saves painful choice

They were saved from making a potentially painful decision Wednesday when a Texas nurse landed in Austin after treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. She voluntarily agreed to isolate herself for three weeks — the time it takes for symptoms to emerge — after she was met at the airport by Department of State Health Services Commissioner Dr. David Lakey, spokeswoman Carrie Williams said.

Wendy Davis picks up the pace in final days of campaign

With three days left of early voting and facing her worst polling numbers yet, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis ramped up the pace on Wednesday, campaigning in six cities across the state – from Fort Worth to Laredo – while her Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, appeared with U.S. Sen. John Cornyn at the Fort Worth Stockyards in Davis’ home city and later in San Antonio.

Vista Ridge pipeline set for council action

The City Council is set to vote Thursday on a project aimed at pumping water from deep beneath Central Texas to San Antonio via a 142-mile pipeline. After listening to comments on both sides Oct. 8, the council voiced support for the 30-year, public-private San Antonio Water System project at an Oct. 15 work session. A council vote is expected at 9 a.m. in the council chambers, 114 W. Commerce St.

Chasnoff: Reed gets LaHood ad yanked

The “truth” that LaHood spoke was silenced on Thursday, when Reed raised Cain about a radio spot by her political opponent and persuaded every Clear Channel station in the area to yank it from the air. LaHood is challenging Reed, a 16-year incumbent Republican, in the Nov. 4 election.

Cornyn, Abbott lead S.A. get-out-the-vote rally

The Republican Party of Bexar County has issued a series of desperate pleas to conservative voters, saying “the Democrats are beating us on base turnout,” but two of the Texas party's biggest names converged on San Antonio to get any complacent GOP voters off their couches.

Ethics commission approves dark money regulation

The Texas Ethics Commission, in a unanimous vote Wednesday, approved a new regulation to require politically active nonprofits to disclose donors if they spend more than 25 percent of their annual budget on politicking. The regulation takes aim squarely at so-called dark money groups that are allowed under federal rules to play in the political arena without having to disclose where their money comes from.

Lyft leaving Houston unless new rules are altered

Less than a week before new city regulations take effect, one of two app-based, paid-ride companies is preparing to end its local business rather than use a city-required procedure to conduct background checks. "We've made the very difficult decision that if Houston doesn't amend its process, we've decided we have no choice but to pause operations," David Estrada, vice president of government operations for Lyft, said Wednesday.

Comptroller candidates clash in only debate

In the only debate between the rivals seeking to become Texas' top tax official, Democrat Mike Collier repeatedly assailed his Republican opponent state Sen. Glenn Hegar of Katy. "We should not talk about getting rid of the property tax. That is so unfair to Texans to have that kind of talk," said Collier, a Houston accountant and former PricewaterhouseCoopers partner. "What we should do is fix the property tax."

Texas workers entitled to time to vote

Under Texas voting laws, employers have a legal responsibility to provide employees with time to vote. And in some cases, employees must be paid for that time. But the rules are complicated, so it's best for employers to brush up in time for the election next Tuesday.