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The Mighty Quinn

Without Houston lawyer John O'Quinn, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell wouldn't be on television during the last three weeks of this election cycle.

Without Houston lawyer John O'Quinn, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell wouldn't be on television during the last three weeks of this election cycle.

The $2.5 million he's provided for that campaign — whether Bell wins or not — will be the new answer to a standard question about Texas politics and the "no limits" policy for campaign finance. That question usually is something like, "Do you mean to tell me that somebody could give a candidate a million bucks and it's legal?" Instead of, "You betcha," we've got a new answer: "Hey, in 2006, one guy gave his candidate $2.5 million."

It's a serious hunk of money, and it almost washes the other gubernatorial candidates of the stains their big contributors left. But not quite. Kinky Friedman's campaign contributions are dominated by the giving of John McCall, a pal of the candidate who has donated $851,000 to that cause. Carole Keeton Strayhorn has received contributions of at least $1.4 million from Dallas tax consultant George Brint Ryan and other executives of Ryan & Co. and its affiliated political action committee. Gov. Rick Perry has a number of big donors, the biggest of whom is Houston builder Bob Perry and his wife Doylene Perry (no relation to the governor), who's given the governor $330,000 over the last two years. (The Perrys have contributed $15.9 million to various politicos in Texas since January 2000, and $6.1 million since the beginning of 2005.)

The End is Near

Early voting in this election starts on Monday in Texas. That fact leads to this one: The ad wars are well underway now, led by the three gubernatorial candidates with money. Perry and Strayhorn, as we've written, have the dough they need to remain in your living room until this is over. Bell's running ads, too, as long as the money holds up. His campaign says they'll be on the air through the election. But they've rejiggered their schedule, cutting back on TV time they'd reserved in some parts of the state and leaving their commercials alone in others parts of Texas. The Perry camp hectored them for pulling down ads in South Texas, saying Bell was ignoring that part of the state. Bell's camp countered by saying their guy had been in South Texas for two days when the Perry camp popped off.

Bell's got a version of the same problem he's had all along. He's running an underfinanced campaign, even with O'Quinn's spigots opened all the way.

Numbers, Numbahs, Numb... Buzzz...

Rick Perry slipped a bit, Carole Keeton Strayhorn held her ground, Chris Bell pulled even with her, and Kinky Friedman dropped into single digits in a new poll done for Texans for Insurance Reform, a political action committee affiliated with the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.

The group attributes the changes from one poll to the next to television advertising by Strayhorn and Bell. But they conclude that Perry continues to benefit from the fractured race for second place; if no candidate breaks out of that pack — and in a dramatic way — nobody will overtake an incumbent who looks to bring in less than 40 percent of the vote on November 7.

In that survey, Perry got 33 percent (including those who say they'll vote for him and those who lean that way); Strayhorn got 18 percent; Bell got 18 percent; and Friedman got 8 percent. Strayhorn is the second-place choice of about a third of the voters, and the only one of the challengers who would beat Perry in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup.

Other tidbits:

• The percentage of people with an unfavorable opinion of Friedman rose to 48 percent, far and away the worst of any of the four main candidates.

• None of the candidates has left more than half the electorate with a favorable impression. Approval of Perry, at 46 percent, was highest, though his unfavorables, at 38 percent outdo everyone but Friedman.

• Bell is better known that he was even two weeks ago, but one in four voters said they haven't heard of the Democrat.

George W. Bush remains more popular in Texas than elsewhere; 49 percent said they approve of the job he's doing (including 80 percent of Republicans), while 39 percent disapprove.

• Most of Perry's supporters — 67 percent — are Republicans, but a quarter of them are independents. Most of Bell's — 69 percent — are Democrats, but about a quarter come from the independent ranks. Strayhorn's gang is evenly distributed among Republicans, Democrats, and independents. And Friedman gets 49 percent of his vote from Republicans and 35 percent from independents.

• Slice it the other way, to see where the party folk are going (instead of what the mix is for each candidate). Perry's getting 58 percent of the GOP votes, with 16 percent going to Strayhorn and 7 percent to Friedman. Most of the rest are undecided. Bell, with 48 percent, is not quite getting half the Democratic voters. Strayhorn gets 21 percent and Perry gets 11 percent. Friedman gets 4 percent of the Democrats and the rest of that pack is undecided. Independents break this way: Perry, 26 percent; Strayhorn, 18 percent; Friedman, 17 percent; and Bell, 15 percent.

• TIR polled one issue, finding that the Trans Texas Corridor — a centerpiece of the attacks on Perry — has the approval of 17 percent of Texans, while 68 percent say they disapprove of it. Just over half of Perry's own supporters — 50.5 percent — disapprove of his transportation plan. (Here's how they asked: "The Trans-Texas Corridor is Governor Perry's plan to relieve traffic and help interstate commerce by building a massive toll road highway system across the State. This plan involves condemnation of 1/2 million acres of private property, which will be leased to a privately owned company from Spain for fifty years. That company will build and operate toll roads, setting the price of tolls and determining who will be allowed to operate motels, gas stations and restaurants along the toll roads. Do you strongly approve, approve, disapprove or strongly disapprove of the Governor's plan?")

The survey was done by Opinion Analysts from October 11-15. They talked to 602 likely general election voters, and say the margin of error is +/- 4 percent. You can look at the entire poll, with questions and everything else, at TIR's website.

A new Wall Street Journal/Zogby poll (subscription required) has U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison comfortably ahead of Democratic challenger Barbara Ann Radnofsky on the eve of the only debate between those two candidates. By their reckoning, Hutchison has 60 percent, Radnofsky has 28 percent, and Libertarian Scott Jameson has 5 percent (that's a large number, historically speaking, for a Libertarian in a race like this). The surveyors were in the field October 10-16, and say their poll has a +/- 3 percent margin of error.

In the gubernatorial race, the same poll has Gov. Rick Perry at 38 percent, followed by Democrat Chris Bell at 26 percent, independent Kinky Friedman at 13 percent and independent Carole Keeton Strayhorn at 13 percent. James Werner, the Libertarian in that contest, got 4 percent from the respondents. The dates of the poll and the margins of error are the same as for the Senate poll.

Air Wars: Open the Gates

It's the time of the political cycle to wish you owned a TV station.

Susan Combs might come in third on the spending on ads list, if there is such a thing. She's on TV with what we're told is a $3 million buy that'll run through Election Day. There'd been rumors her ads would be critical of Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn. That'd be clever — helping Gov. Rick Perry in his race against Strayhorn and others, and positioning Combs as a reformer. But it's also wrong: The ads contain nothing to make the current comptroller fret. Fred Head, the Democrat in the comptroller's race, doesn't have the money for a TV run.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst went up this week, bolstering his reelection campaign against nearly invisible opposition from a Democrat and a Libertarian with an ad touting laws protecting children. One poll had that Libertarian — Judy Baker of Houston — at 9 percent. If that's so, it's a huge number for a candidate from that party. The Democrat is Maria Luisa Alvarado.

Attorney General Greg Abbott joined in the air wars this week with an ad that, like Dewhurst's, paints him as an advocate for children.

In this lackluster political cycle (in most state races), most candidates are still dark. U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has plenty of dough, but isn't running the expansive TV campaign she ran six years ago when she sought her second term in that office. She's apparently gonna be on the airwaves pretty soon. Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones hasn't stirred on the ad front, either (her most recent cash balance wouldn't buy a week of statewide television). Agriculture Commissioner candidate Todd Staples will go next week, and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson will run radio and TV spots in five counties: Jefferson, Cameron, Hidalgo, Nueces, and El Paso. He's also sending mail pieces to everyone on the Kinky Friedman petition list and to the AFL-CIO's list (their statewide political arm endorsed him).

The TV spots are the only part of the campaigns that get seen by a lot of Texans. And the candidates, particularly in this year's spectacularly weird race for governor, are trying to move those voters around. Here's a sampling from that race, in the order the spots started running (note as you go that none of the challengers is attacking another challenger).

Ads: Perry Clangs Bell

Gov. Rick Perry launched the first head-on attack of the gubernatorial race with an ad targeting Democrat Chris Bell as a liberal financed by trial lawyers.

The ad starts with a shark swimming in the water and is followed by pictures from Bell and Perry ads. The Bell ad they used is one that ran in mid-summer, a Paul Bunyan routine that had a giant Bell standing in downtown Houston, in the Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo, and sitting on the Capitol building in Austin. Perry uses that last shot at the end of the ad, shrinking Bell's image to punctuate the announcer's words. And those words are:

"Just when you thought it was safe, the sharks are back in the water. A scandal-plagued personal injury trial lawyer is funneling millions of dollars to Democrat Chris Bell. Chris Bell — one giant Washington liberal. Bell wants to raise your taxes. Rick Perry continues the fight for lower taxes. Chris Bell voted against securing our border from terrorists and drug gangs. Gov. Perry is securing our border. Chris Bell: Wrong on taxes, weak on security. Too liberal for Texas."

Bell said the vote Perry is citing on homeland security was one he cast with the Defense Department — he was voting the way the Bush Administration hoped he would.

The ad carries a certain risk for the incumbent. Perry's trying to throw some red meat to his own base, to get them riled up about liberals and trial lawyers and all that. And those are the kinds of words that, in past elections, have turned independent voters away from Democrats.

But Bell's not really after swing voters or Republicans, and it doesn't particularly hurt him to tell Democrats he's a liberal (Bell's own ads say prominently that he's a Democrat; other Democrats in statehouse races, for instance, largely avoid the label and call themselves independent or voices for change or some such). Perry might get mileage out of the spot, but Bell might be able to use it to rally his own base voters, to get his name out to voters who haven't heard of him, and to help him raise money to keep advertising until the end of the race. It could turn out to be an accidental in-kind contribution, if there's still time for Bell to take advantage of it.

Ads: Road Rage

An attack on Perry's statewide transportation plan replaced everything Carole Keeton Strayhorn had been running on television during the week leading up to early voting.

The new ad knocked out two ads: Strayhorn's attack on the size of Perry's property tax cuts, and a spot featuring the story of her and her husband and how they got together. Strayhorn herself is the announcer on the new commercial, and the ad's look will be familiar to anyone who's seen any of her spots this year. She's standing in front of a white background as she says:

"Tolls across Texas? Gov. Perry's plan is beyond anything we've ever known. It's the largest land grab in Texas history. A deal to seize more than a half-million acres of private property and hand it over to a foreign company — so they can charge us tolls. I believe Texas property belongs to Texans, not foreign companies. And I believe we ought to protect our property rights and stop this land grab. Austin doesn't. It's time to shake Austin up."

The graphics that pop up during the ad say, "Tolls Across Texas; largest land grab; 584,000 acres; foreign company."

Ads: War on Two Fronts

Cuts in the Children's Health Insurance Program and ties between the governor and the private company hired by the state to run CHIP are linked in a Bell attack on Perry.

The spot implies the hiring of Accenture led to precipitous drops in the number of kids enrolled in CHIP, and that Accenture was hired because it brought in Perry staffers to help sell Texas on its services. In fact, the CHIP cuts were made by the Legislature and Perry at the same time they were changing the law to privatize the program. Accenture was hired after that. Accenture's problems delivering service have raised questions about the firm; those aren't mentioned in the 30-second commercial.

The spot opens a second front in Perry's reelection bid. Strayhorn is running ads attacking the incumbent's transportation and road program. Perry, meanwhile, is running ads calling Bell a liberal who's relying on trial lawyers — John O'Quinn in particular — for support.

The script:

Male announcer: "Rick Perry gives the children's health insurance contract to Accenture — a Bermuda-based company represented by his former staffers — and a quarter-million children lose their health insurance. Our children's health, sacrificed for Perry's corruption. Democrat Chris Bell will fire Accenture and protect our children's health insurance."

Bell (in front of a Texas flag, talking to an audience of supporters): "When I'm governor, we're going to clean up the corruption and our kids will have health insurance."

Ads: The Stuff of Bad Dreams

The newest spot from Strayhorn is like every kid's nightmare — a report card from a teacher who really and truly doesn't like you.

This is the first of her run that doesn't have the candidate in it. Instead, a quintet of teachers and teacher representatives (from groups that have endorsed Strayhorn) scold Perry on education issues. The folks in the ad are Jennie Anderson, Rita Haecker, Louis Malfaro, Lisa Maxwell, and Judith Miller. All five are identified in the ad as public school teachers. Malfaro and Haecker are president and vice president, respectively, of Education Austin. Malfaro's also a vice president of the American Federation of Teachers. Both are former teachers. The other three are current teachers in the Austin and Round Rock school districts.

The ad starts with an excerpt from a Perry spot that ran in early summer: "… and more money for our schools. We kept our promises to you."

Maxwell: "No, Governor, you didn't. State funding for education hasn't gone up."

Malfaro: "And you cut health insurance benefits for teachers."

Anderson: "Now, 37,000 Texas teachers are leaving our classrooms every year."

Haecker: "That's why Texas teachers are supporting independent Carole Keeton Strayhorn."

Maxwell: "Carole's been a teacher. She cares about our children."

Malfaro: "We've heard enough political promises. We need Carole Keeton Strayhorn to shake Austin up."

Miller: "So kids can learn and teachers can teach."

Ads: Back to the Border

Perry started his air campaign weeks ago with spots about the Texas-Mexico border, and he's returning to that subject in his newest commercials.

Perry on a hill overlooking the Rio Grande, talking to a sheriff; a silhouette of someone loading a truck at night while someone looks on with a gun in hand; Zapata County Sheriff Sigi Gonzales on an overlook with the river behind him; Val Verde County Sheriff D'Wayne Jernigan on the river bank; a shot of a cop handcuffing someone; some quick shots the river, Perry walking with the sheriffs, a busy border checkpoint, and then a shot of Perry on the river overlook.

The spot also includes several headlines: "Drug war spreads fear along Mexican border"; "Security blitz along border cuts illegal activity in five Texas counties"; "Perry sends more officers, equipment to battle border violence"; and "Perry commits money to border security plan." Here's the script for the ad called "Border Leader":

Announcer: "Rick Perry, working to protect our border."

Gonzalez: "We were overwhelmed by drug gangs. Thanks to Gov. Perry, we now have more vehicles, weapons, and additional manpower to protect the border.

Jernigan: "The governor's border security plan has resulted in a 60 percent drop in crime in our counties. Rick Perry is making a difference."

Announcer: "Gov. Rick Perry. The only one with a proven record of securing our border, and a $100 million plan to stop border crime. Rick Perry. Making Texas safer."

Not Necessarily the News

The one debate of this year's race for U.S. Senate didn't produce any real news — meaning it was a win for the incumbent.

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison stayed on message and didn't make any mistakes, and she handled questions about Iraq, transportation funding and her broken term limits promise of 12 years ago without any fumbles. She said she'd have voted against the Iraq war if she'd known there were no weapons of mass destruction. She defended her record on transportation funding, saying the state's haul of federal dollars is second only to the one bigger state, California. And she called the question on term limits a fair one, saying she didn't stop at two terms, as promised, because senators from other states don't have to and she didn't want to put Texas at a disadvantage. She said she'd vote for term limits if they affected everyone.

Democrat Barbara Ann Radnofsky tore at Hutchison's record, saying the state should be doing better on transportation funding when measured on a per capita basis (Hutchison prefers total dollars, where the state looks better). She reiterated her support for a withdrawal from Iraq, and she said the state needs a senator "who is five-foot-nine and looks good in purple."

The Libertarian in the race, Scott Jameson, was less confrontational but had studied up. He answered a question on federal earmarks by citing statistics more dramatic than the questioner's, and answered another by saying the disconnect between rising congressional salaries and stagnant minimum wages dated to the mid-1950s.

But in the end, there wasn't much news in the one-hour public television forum in San Antonio. And without a goof by the front-runner or a remarkable performance by a challenger, that's a win for the incumbent.

A Late Drop

Rick Bolaños, an El Paso Democrat running against U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-San Antonio, is getting out of that race and endorsing fellow Democrat Lukin Gilliland.

Voting doesn't start until next week, but we're well past the point where a candidate's name can be taken off the ballot. Bolaños will still be on there. That CD-23 race is crowded, with the three already mentioned, Democrat Augie Beltran of San Antonio, Democrat Adrian DeLeon of Carrizo Springs, Democrat Ciro Rodriguez of San Antonio, independent Craig Stephens of San Antonio, and Democrat Albert Uresti, also of San Antonio. It's a special election forced by court-ordered redistricting, so it'll take 50 percent to win, either next month or in a runoff a month or so after Election Day.

Size Matters

We did a chart of the financial standings of House members in 16 top races, which you'll find in the Files section of our website. (Or just click here to look at it online.) The chart comes from campaign reports that cover campaign activity from July 1 to September 28, the period when most campaigns really got busy on the general election. It's often a good idea to look at expenditures as well as cash on hand, since some campaigns buy signs and TV time and such in advance. You can't say someone's campaign doesn't have the money for XYZ based on their cash balance; they might have a big box of XYZ out there in the garage, waiting for the moment they'll need it. To look at a candidate's full report, go to the website of the Texas Ethics Commission, plug in the name you want, and off you go.

Campaign Notes

The Stars Over Texas PAC, set up by House Speaker Tom Craddick and Republican colleagues to protect GOP incumbents in the House and support Republicans in open seats, listed nine candidates on the protection list in its latest report and gave them contributions ranging from $8,000 to $25,000.

The beneficiaries include Gene Seaman of Corpus Christi and Bill Welch of Austin, $25,000; Kirk England of Grand Prairie, Toby Goodman of Arlington, Tony Goolsby of Dallas, Bill Keffer of Dallas, and Jim Murphy of Houston, $10,000; and Byron Cook of Corsicana and Martha Wong of Houston, $8,000.

The list of donors had some interesting names, too: Craddick, Houston builder Bob Perry, and the Ryan & Co. PAC that's affiliated with a high profile Dallas tax consultancy, all gave $50,000. The Heart Place PAC of Dallas gave $25,000, and Midland oilman and former gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams Jr. gave $20,000.

• Gov. Rick Perry got to the end of September with more money in the bank than any other state candidate who's on the November ballot. He had $9.2 million in the bank. Next on the list: Attorney General Greg Abbott, $7.7 million; Carole Keeton Strayhorn, $5 million; Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, $2.6 million; Agriculture Commissioner candidate Todd Staples, $1.4 million; Senate nominee Kirk Watson, D-Austin, $1.1 million; Comptroller candidate Susan Combs, $1 million. See the whole list, derived from Texas Ethics Commission reports and sorted by dollar amount, in our Files section.

• El Paso Republican Dee Margo raised $194,204 for his challenge to Democrat Eliot Shapleigh over the last three months, and got to the end of September with $159,903 in the bank.

• If it was the price keeping you from buying a Kinky Friedman action figure, you'll find them on the candidate's website at a discount. The talking Kinky dolls were $29.95; now they're available for $20.

• Democrat John Courage — one of several candidates challenging U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio — is touting a poll that shows Smith has support from just 45 percent of the people in the district. Courage is well behind, at 30 percent, followed by five other candidates. Undecided voters made up 12 percent in the poll by Forensic Economics Data Consulting. The margin of error was +/- 5 percent.

• Rep. Gene Seaman, R-Corpus Christi, is under attack from the Good Government PAC and blames his opponent, Democrat Juan Garcia, for that third-party offensive. Garcia — he's quoted in Seaman's own press release — says he doesn't have any control over the political group's ads. The PAC's sole contributor in the last report — the Corpus-based Watts Law Firm — gave $100,000. The PAC then spent $58,670 on a "voter contact program" on Garcia's behalf. That report only covered sending through September 28. Seaman's complaint is about what's going on now, which could involve new spending (or could have been purchased last month for delivery now).

Feel the Love

George W. Bush might be having popularity problems someplace, but not in Fort Bend County, Texas. The Republicans there are touting a Bush visit a week from Monday (October 30) for a Get Out the Vote Rally in what used to be Tom DeLay's congressional district. 

• U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison endorsed state Rep. Tony Goolsby, R-Dallas, for reelection. And she got some help, too — former First Lady Barbara Bush endorsed Hutchison at a Dallas Women's Luncheon.

• No legislator left behind: We left Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, off our list of Republicans who went door-knocking on behalf of Rep. Chuck Hopson, D-Jacksonville. There, it's fixed. His opponent, Republican Larry Durrett, is getting help from Ag Commissioner Susan Combs (who's running for comptroller). She'll hit five towns with Durrett on the first day of early voting.

David Van Os, the Democratic nominee for Texas attorney general, saved the big ones for the end. He's wrapping up his visits to each of the 254 counties in Texas with stops at the last five county courthouses: Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. And he's added a new line, calling for constitutional limits to eminent domain (allowing it only for public security and safety) and a constitutional ban on toll roads unless voters first approve them.

Joe Heflin, the Democrat running for Rep. Pete Laney's spot in the state Legislature, adds two more endorsements, one from former U.S. Rep. Charlie Stenholm, D-Abilene, and another from former state Rep. David Counts, D-Knox City. It's a Republican district on paper, and the GOP candidate, Jim Landtroop, is well financed. But Heflin, a former Crosby County judge, has Laney's backing — both in an endorsement and in $20,000 in contributions — and now the support of the other two former officeholders. Landtroop, meanwhile, got a district visit and endorsement from U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Lubbock.

• Out-going Sen. Ken Armbrister, D-Victoria, endorsed 3rd Appeals Court Justice David Puryear, a Republican, for reelection. That judicial district overlaps Armbrister's Senate district in three counties.

• The Houston Police Officers Union and the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association both snubbed incumbent Rep. Martha Wong, R-Houston, and endorsed Democrat Ellen Cohen in HD-134. They claim 4,500 and 3,800 members, respectively.

• Democrat Valinda Bolton of Austin got the endorsement of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Texas — that PAC's first endorsement of the year. She's running against Republican Bill Welch for the seat currently held by Rep. Terry Keel, R-Austin, who didn't seek reelection.

• The Texas Association of Realtors PAC — TREPAC, they call it — isn't looking for much change this year. Their endorsements, with only three exceptions, went to either incumbents or to the candidate from the political party that's been holding a given seat. Where Republicans have been in office, they're with Republicans, and vice-versa. The three endorsements that break that rule: Nick Lampson, the Democrat running for Republican Tom DeLay's seat in Congress; Jim Landtroop, the Republican running for Pete Laney's statehouse seat; and George Antuna, the Republican running for Democrat Carlos Uresti's House seat. DeLay quit. Laney didn't seek reelection. And Uresti is running for state Senate.

Political People and Their Moves

The worst-kept secret in West Texas is finally out: Former U.S. Rep. Kent Hance will be the next chancellor of the Texas Tech University System. He's a Tech alum and, the school is hoping, a guy who can transfer his political fundraising skills to his alma mater. Hance started as a Democratic state senator from West Texas in 1974 and won three terms in Congress before losing a Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in 1984 to Lloyd Doggett of Austin. He switched parties and lost a gubernatorial primary in 1986, to Bill Clements. Clements appointed Hance to an open seat on the Texas Railroad Commission and Hance won election to that job in 1988. He lost another gubernatorial primary in 1990, to Clayton Williams, and has been a lawyer/lobbyist ever since.

Sonia Mohammed, the clerk for Rep. Fred Hill, R-Dallas, on the Local Government Ways & Means Committee, was selected for the 2007 American Marshall Memorial Fellowship, which means she'll get a three- to four-week trip to Europe to meet with political people and journalists there. It's an exchange program of sorts — the Europeans send people this way every year, too.

Deaths: Former Texas Rep. R.C. Nichols, D-Houston, who served for eight years and was one of the "Dirty 30" reformers who ousted then-Speaker Gus Mutscher, of a bone marrow disease. He was 78.

Quotes of the Week

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, asked by The Dallas Morning News about her political ambitions if she's reelected: "I don't intend to run for the Senate again. I intend to serve six years, but that's not a pledge. That's not a no-matter-what-happens. I'm not going to tell you right now that I know everything that's going to happen in the next six years."

Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt, on what the state did with property taxes last spring, in the Houston Chronicle: "Anyone who is running on a big tax cut is making a mistake, because the numbers don't support it. Call it what it is. It's property tax relief. It's not a tax cut."

Comptroller candidate Susan Combs, talking to the Houston Chronicle about her opponent: "I think Fred Head is a very strange man, and I'm very concerned that anybody would believe anything he says."

Former Lubbock County Democratic Party Chair Madison Sowder, talking about Tech Chancellor-to-be Kent Hance's fundraising ability, in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: "He knows all the people who have got money. He lobbies for them."

Texas Weekly: Volume 23, Issue 18, 23 October 2006. Ross Ramsey, Editor. Copyright 2006 by Printing Production Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. One-year online subscription: $250. For information about your subscription, call (512) 302-5703 or email For news, email, or call (512) 288-6598.

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