The Big Conversation:
Though Ted Cruz still looms, Tom Leppert has moved into David Dewhurst's sights.
On Wednesday, as the Tribune's Aman Batheja reports, Dewhurst's U.S. Senate campaign unveiled LiberalTomLeppert.com, a site criticizing Leppert's work as mayor of Dallas, and a LiberalTomLeppert YouTube account.
The move appears to mark a slight shift in strategy for Dewhurst, who has so far reserved most of his attacks for Cruz, the candidate who appears likeliest to make a runoff with the front-running lieutenant governor.
Leppert on Wednesday appeared flattered by the attention. “If they’re doing that, then we feel pretty darn good because you wouldn’t worry about doing that unless you knew what we knew,” Leppert said, referring to internal polling apparently showing both he and Cruz with a shot at ending up in a runoff with Dewhurst.
Though Cruz has waged a fierce fight, winning the support of national conservative groups like the Club for Growth, Leppert has proven a formidable contender, too, drawing from his personal fortune to air ads attacking both Cruz and Dewhurst. The Dewhurst campaign, however, had previously aroused suspicion that it was playing up Leppert's chances in an attempt to distract from Cruz.
Still, Dewhurst on Wednesday admitted that the race could result in a runoff.
“I’m confident that we’ll be the top vote-getter,” Dewhurst said. “As long as I’m the top vote-getter, I’m happy with the results.”
- Ted Cruz has loaned his campaign $400,000 ahead of Tuesday's elections, the Austin American-Statesman reported Wednesday. The infusion will likely help Cruz keep pace with David Dewhurst and Tom Leppert, who have pumped millions of dollars of their own money into their campaigns. "We have funds enough," Cruz spokesman James Bernsen told the Statesman. "We're going to be up no matter what." The Dallas Morning News notes, though, that a Super PAC supporting Dewhurst has also boosted its spending this week by $300,000, potentially offsetting the amount the Cruz-supporting Club for Growth has recently invested in Cruz's campaign.
- Mitt Romney may handily win the Texas primary next week, but his campaign's apparent lack of effort in Texas has irritated some Republican leaders, according to The Dallas Morning News. “I couldn’t tell you if Romney has a chairman in this state,” said Steve Munisteri, chairman of the Texas Republican Party. “I couldn’t tell you if they have a campaign headquarters. I couldn’t tell you if they have staff in the state. I couldn’t tell you who’s doing their fundraising.”
- Forty-five percent of Texans think federal health care reform should be overturned entirely, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll. More than 40 percent, though, think politics and partisanship will play the role in the Supreme Court's upcoming ruling on the law. Also in the poll: Texans' views on abortion, Planned Parenthood, the death penalty and medically assisted suicide.
“There’s just a huge misconception … within the Romney campaign that Texas will just go Republican no matter what." — Texas GOP chairman Steve Munisteri to The Dallas Morning News
- Book Review: Gail Collins' As Texas Goes…, Texas Monthly
- Grandfather’s Millions Make Paul Fan a Political Player, Bloomberg Businessweek
- Two SBOE Rivals Each Facing Tough Primaries, The Texas Tribune