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Green Days

It's midsummer. Hot. Time for vacations. But first: The campaign finance reports are in, and you can start to see where (some of) the money is going.

It's midsummer. Hot. Time for vacations. But first: The campaign finance reports are in, and you can start to see where (some of) the money is going.

Short form: It's going into the Republican primary for governor.

Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison got to the mid-year point — the start, really, of the 2010 campaign finance cycle — with a combined $22 million in the bank. That's just the start of what looks to be the toughest-fought gubernatorial primary since Ann Richards, Jim Mattox, and Mark White went at it on the Democratic side in 1990.

Only some reports were available online as we hit our deadline, but they'll show up over the next week or so on the Texas Ethics Commission's website. And we've got the big ones. Read on.

With this issue in the can, we're taking our annual summer break. Daily News Clips and Out There, our blog digest, will continue, and the newsletter will return in the first week of August. Until then!

KBH: $6.7 Million Raised

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison says she raised $6.7 million during the first six months of the year for a race for governor against incumbent Rick Perry.

Hutchison said she raised more money during six months than any state candidate other than George W. Bush.

Her total compares to Perry's total of $4.2 million. The difference: His was collected in the last nine days of the finance period and hers came in over six months. Perry and other state officeholders are barred from raising money during a legislative session, for the month before one, and for the three weeks that follow a session.

Hutchison's account now has a total of $12.5 million in it. More than half of what she has raised, she raised for her federal account as a U.S. Senator. Hutchison primed the gubernatorial fund by moving $8 million from the federal account to the state account around the first of this year.

More summer fun ahead: Hutchison said at her Dallas press conference that she's ending her exploratory campaign, and make "a formal announcement" about her bid for governor next month.

Hutchison's campaign said more than 6,500 people gave to her campaign, that 98 percent of the contributions came from Texans, that 80 percent of her donors gave $500 or less, and that 1,000 of the contributors gave online.

Perry announced his totals last week (details for both are due at the Texas Ethics Commission this week): He raised $4.2 million and ended the period with $9.4 million in the bank. That puts the two about $3 million apart as the race gets underway.

Day by Day

Gov. Rick Perry raised $4.2 million in nine days. There was a weekend in there, so there are seven days of deposits from the end of June into the Guv's tank.

How it went, according to his report:

June 22: $62,010

June 23: $277,350

June 24: $747,715

June 25: $783,483

June 26: $230,533

June 29: $558,035

June 30: $1,571,959

State candidates can't take money for a month before a legislative session, during the session, and for the three weeks that follow. On the first day after the blackout, Perry's campaign took in $1,033 every hour (using a 24-hour clock). On the last day before the deadline, the hourly take was up to $26,199.

While announcing her numbers earlier this week, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison accused Perry of soliciting donations during the session but not collecting them until it was over.

"It has been said, 'Well, the governor raised $4 million in 10 days.' That is not the case," Hutchison said in a Dallas press conference broadcast over her campaign website. "We both had six months. We were both asking for commitments. We were both asking for money."

Perry spokesman Mark Miner flatly called her a liar, and Hutchison hasn't offered any evidence to back her claim that Perry was soliciting contributions during the session (which is illegal).

Elephant Hunting

Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison each released spreadsheets of the big game they caught in their initial hunt for campaign money for that contest. Each had a bunch of familiar Texas names topping the lists.

You can download a spreadsheet here with each candidate's donor list (in slightly different formats, just as they delivered them to us). Some highlights:

Big Bucks for Perry

$225,000: Mica Mosbacher of Houston.

$100,000: m/m Thomas Friedkin of Houston, The Gallagher Law Firm of Houston, m/m B. "Red" McCombs of San Antonio, m/m Gary Petersen of Houston, m/m Bob Perry of Houston, m/m George "Brint" Ryan of Dallas, and m/m Harold Simmons of Dallas.

$75,000: m/m L. Simmons of Houston.

$50,000: AT&T Texas PAC, Border Health PAC, Phil Adams of Bryan, m/m Moshe Azoulay of Dallas, Johnny Baker of Houston, m/m Lee Bass of Fort Worth, m/m Mike Curb of Nashville, TN, m/m James Dondero of Dallas, m/m Dan Duncan of Houston, m/m J. Ellis Jr. of Irving, m/m Tilman Fertitta of Houston, m/m Paul Foster of El Paso, Stevan Hammond of Dallas, m/m H. Heavin of Gatesville, m/m Steve Hicks of Austin, m/m Thomas Hicks of Dallas, Peter Holt of Blanco, m/m Woody Hunt of El Paso, m/m Mickey Long of Midland, m/m Larry Martin of Houston, m/m L. Mays of San Antonio, James Moffett of New Orleans, LA, m/m S. Morian of Houston, m/m Gene Phillips of Dallas, James Pitcock Jr. of Houston, Joe Sanderson Jr. of Laurel, MS, James Schneider of Austin, m/m Michael Shaw of Denver, CO, Rick Sheldon of Waco, Robert Stillwell of Houston, m/m Kenny Troutt of Dallas, m/m Robert Waltrip of Houston, and m/m Charles Wood Jr. of Dallas.

Big Bucks for Hutchison

$100,000: John Adams of Dallas, Hushang Ansary of Houston, D. Andrew Beal of Plano, Tim Byrne of Dallas, Ray Hunt of Dallas, Nancy Kinder of Houston, Drayton McLane of Temple, Dick Moncrief of Fort Worth, Mike Myers of Dallas, John Nau of Houston, Robert Rowling of Irving, and Charles Tate of Houston.

$75,000: Ned Holmes of Houston.

$50,000: Louis Beecherl of Dallas, J. Robert Brown of El Paso, Dan Duncan of Houston, James Flores of Houston, Robert Gillikin of Dallas, Joe Long of Austin, Erle Nye of Dallas, James Perkins of Tyler, H. Ross Perot of Plano, Fayez Sarofim of Houston.

$40,000: Harlan Crow of Dallas.

(Note: m/m is Mr./Mrs.)

First Showing

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Schieffer raised "almost $800,000 in contributions and loans" since first announcing his interest in the race on March 2.

Schieffer raised $505,842.84, got a $200,000 loan from former U.S. Ambassador Lyndon Olson Jr. of Waco, and spent $73,953 of his own money on the effort, bringing the total to $779,795. Unlike everybody else who's floating numbers, Schieffer included copies of his full reports. There are two: Here, and here.

Schieffer's numbers are dwarfed by those of the GOP candidates. Rick Perry raised $4.2 million and Kay Bailey Hutchison raised $6.7 million. But he doesn't have to run in that primary; what'll count there is what the winning Democrat and the winning Republican show in their accounts a year from now.

More important to Schieffer: Whether this report shows enough strength to keep other Democrats from jumping into the primary against him. So far, it's him, Kinky Friedman, and Mark Thompson. Schieffer's totals are behind those for Perry and Hutchison, and also for down-ballot Republicans like Dan Branch and Ted Cruz, who are preparing runs for attorney general and who each broke the $1 million mark.

Still Out Front

Attorney General Greg Abbott raised more money in the last days of June than anyone not running for governor.

He raised $1.2 million and ended the first half of the year with $9.4 million in the bank. By comparison, Kay Bailey Hutchison got to June 30 with $12.5 million in the bank. Gov. Rick Perry had $9.4. There's some rounding in there, but if you're looking for the edge, give it to Abbott. His treasury has about $22,000 more in it than Perry's.

Abbott's look at a run for lieutenant governor next year, on the theory that David Dewhurst will leave that post to run for U.S. Senate.

Waiting for Kay

U.S. Senate hopefuls report their campaign finances while they want to see if and when they're running.

Florence Shapiro says she raised $100,000 in the last week of June for her U.S. Senate bid. Since that's a federal race, she wasn't bound by the state prohibition on fundraising by officeholders during the legislative session. Shapiro, a Republican state senator, decided to observe the ban anyway.

Houston Mayor Bill White raised $1 million and added $821,000 of his own money to his U.S. Senate campaign during the three months ending June 30. He's one of two Democrats in that pack of candidates.

Roger Williams, a Republican and the former Texas Secretary of State, says he got to the mid-year point with $727,597 in the bank after raising $471,969 during the last three months. That income number includes a $50,000 loan from the candidate, which brings his total loan amount so far to $250,000.

Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams raised $225,000 during the second quarter for that U.S. Senate race. His campaign says nearly a quarter of the money they've brought in was raised on the Internet.

Elizabeth Ames Jones says she raised $356,000 during the third quarter, bringing her total contributions for the year to date to $563,000. Jones, who's on the Texas Railroad Commission, is running for U.S. Senate (on the assumption that Kay Bailey Hutchison will quit to run for governor and open the job). She says her cash-on-hand in the report she's filing with the federal government will total $443,000.

And former Comptroller John Sharp, the other prominent Democrat in the race, raised $656,416 during the quarter, ending the period with $2.8 million in his campaign treasury.

Slant-Hole Drilling

Democrat John Sharp picked up a couple of high-profile endorsements in Bill White's back yard. Harris County Commissioners Sylvia Garcia and El Franco Lee say they'll support Sharp for U.S. Senate.

Sharp and White are both raising money for a special election to that seat, anticipating the resignation of U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who's gearing up for a GOP primary challenge to Gov. Rick Perry. Sharp, the former comptroller, and White, the current mayor of Houston, are both Democrats. Several Republicans have expressed interest in Hutchison's spot, including Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, state Sen. Florence Shapiro of Plano, former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams, and Railroad Commissioners Elizabeth Ames Jones and Michael Williams.

If Hutchison resigns to make the governor's race, Perry would appoint someone to hold the job until a special election. That special could land almost anywhere on the calendar; unless the governor calls an emergency, it would be on a regular election date in November or May (not on the same day as the party primaries, though). If he declares an emergency — a declaration, by the way, that is based simply on what the governor wants to do — the election could land on another date. Hutchison has told supporters she plans to quit early but hasn't announced that publicly. The conventional wisdom in political circles is that she'll make that announcement in October.

Cash Counts

Comptroller Susan Combs says she raised $512,076 during the last days of June and will file a campaign report this week that shows a bank balance of $3.8 million. She might get to keep a lot of it: No reelection opponents have appeared yet.

Jon Cole, a Republican running for the House in HD-67, says he'll have $103,553 on hand when he reports his campaign finances to the Texas Ethics Commission on Wednesday. That, he says, is roughly what he spent getting 48 percent of the vote in 2008. The incumbent in that district is Rep. Jerry Madden, R-Richardson.

And Sen. Kirk Watson put out a statement to keep up with all this disclosure about cash on hand in campaign reports. His: "It's $1,436,000, mas o menos."

About $100k per Day

House Speaker Joe Straus raised $721,050 during the last days of June and will report $1.2 million in the bank in his report this week.

Those were the first contributions he's accepted as speaker; he was elected to that job just as the legislative session started, and state officeholders can't raise campaign money during a legislative session, during the month that precedes one, and the three weeks that follow.

Straus says he's got reelection pledges from 123 members of the House — 62 Republicans and 61 Democrats. That's well over the 76 he has to have, but it's also hypothetical. Not all of those members are sure to return next session, and the Republicans have to hold the majority in the House in the 2010 elections to hand on to the high chair and the corner office.

In the Swing

The financial outlook is mixed for incumbent House members in potential swing districts.

We looked at the fortunes of representatives whose constituents like to vote for the opposing party (according to the Texas Weekly Index) and picked out who's sitting pretty and who's just sitting.

Campaign finance reports aren't crystal balls, but a mountain of money can scare away potential competitors, while an empty bank account can be taken as a sign of weakness.

Leading the first category are Reps. Allan Ritter, D-Nederland, Jim McReynolds, D-Lufkin, and Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving, (whose district has a TWI of 8.3 in the GOP's favor, making it the most Democratic House District represented by a Republican).

Ritter reports having more than $208,000 on hand. That's up from about $150,000 this period two years ago. McReynolds has $90,000 cash-on-hand, up from $51,000 in July 2007. And Harper-Brown also has about $90,000, more than tripling her $25,000 total in July 2007.

In the most Republican House district held by a Democrat, Rep. Chuck Hopson, D-Jacksonville, reports having a respectable $67,000, up from his $37,000 in 2007.

The other blueberries in the tomato soup, Reps. David Farabee, D-Wichita Falls, and Joe Heflin, D-Crosbyton, whose districts have TWIs of more than 30 in the GOP's favor, aren't swimming in cash but have more than they did in 2007. Farabee reports $49,000 (up from $39,000 in 2007), while Heflin has $28,000 (up from $21,000 two years ago).

A quartet of Democrats and Republicans made the four-figure portion of our list. Rep. Mark Homer, D-Paris, (whose district has a TWI nearly identical to Ritter's) reports having less than $6,000. That's less than 5 percent of the $129,000 he counted in 2007. Of that total from two years ago, $125,000 was loan money.

Homer has been in office for more than a decade. The other cellar dwellers were freshmen during the 2009 session. Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt, R-Lexington, only has $1,600 so far, but that's a few hundred bucks more than he had two years ago. Rep. Ken Legler, R-Pasadena, has less than $5,000, and Rep. Angie Chen Button, R-Garland, has just shy of $9,000. Button had $73,000 in the bank at the end of 2007, when she filed her first ethics report.

—by a Texas Weekly Correspondent

Tomorrow Never Knows

The state's original prepaid college tuition program is in financial trouble.

That's not really news, but there are new numbers attached to the problem. Comptroller Susan Combs sent state leaders some reports from the Texas Tomorrow Fund's advisors saying that program will need $65 million in state funds in 2016 and $434 million in the 2016-17 biennium. Those numbers, she said in the forwarding letter, are conservative.

Combs and her advisors spell out the trouble. The prepaid plan was underpriced. Deregulation of college tuition raised prices higher than the originators expected. The market crash last year cut into the investments that were supposed to pay for all of this. And the original financial advisors didn't properly account for early payouts to the first Texans in the program to go to college. "The most important finding of the report is that the Plan is likely to run out of money to pay contract benefits to the universities," Combs wrote in her letter to Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, and Speaker Joe Straus.

The state's on the hook for this one. Lawmakers approved the program and then came back and sent a constitutional amendment to voters giving the Tomorrow Fund the state's full faith and credit. Voters approved that, and the state has to make good on the contracts. The long-term cost: According to the latest report from the actuaries, it'll fall between $1.7 billion and $2.1 billion by 2030. Worse: The plan will run out of money "sometime between 2015 and 2017" if the Legislature does nothing.

A Different Kind of Bailout

The U.S. Supreme Court cracked open the door for Texas political units smaller than counties to escape mandatory federal oversight of elections-related actions.

Since last month's decision in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One vs. Holder, at least one Texas entity has sought an attorney about bailing out of Section Five of the Voting Rights Act. However, people shouldn't expect an immediate swarm of lawsuits from cities and school districts trying to opt out of the law, says Bennett Sandlin, general counsel of the Texas Municipal League.

"Bailing out is arguably more of a burden than just old-fashioned preclearance is. It's doubtful this is a big revolutionary thing for Texas cities," says Sandlin, whose organization represents 90 percent of the state's municipalities.

The State of Texas' still has to seek permission from the U.S. Department of Justice before enacting redistricting plans or voter photo identification laws or other voting law changes. Section Five targets all or part of 16 states (including Texas) that have a documented history of racial discrimination at the polls.

Before the Supremes' ruling, it was unclear whether political entities that do not register voters have the option to bail out of Section Five, even though they must obtain federal preclearance before doing things like moving polling places or changing terms of office.

The justices' narrow ruling ducked the constitutional challenge to Section Five brought by the MUD, though their opinion contains criticisms of the provision. In a lone dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas said that section is no longer necessary, unfairly singles out certain parts of the country, and should be abolished.

"For Texas, the real implication is that the way the bailout statute was being interpreted, it left all of Texas covered without anybody really being able to bail out at all, which creates the impression that there's been no achievement or advancement in Texas over the last 30 years. And that's just not true," says Greg Coleman, lead counsel for the MUD and a partner in Houston firm Yetter, Warden and Coleman.

He's hopeful the ruling signals a change ahead. "It's a warning to Congress and maybe in fact to the Department of Justice saying, 'We'd like to see if you can make this bailout function work as we have now interpreted the bailout statute,'" Coleman says.

Others say the ruling lends flexibility to the law needed to withstand future challenges.

"The recent decision affirmed Section Five and affirmed that voting subdivisions in covered jurisdictions do continue to have to get preclearance from the federal government," says Lisa Graybill, legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. "It extended the opt-out options to even smaller political subdivisions like the MUD."

The Texas ACLU intervened in the MUD case on behalf of an African American individual living in the district, arguing to keep Section Five.

Since the institution of the current bailout process in 1982, only 17 political units in the U.S. (all counties in Virginia) have successfully bailed out. Then again, those are the only entities that have ever sought to bail out from the provision.

Voting rights attorney J. Gerald Hebert was the lawyer for all 17 counties, none of which were exceptional, he says.

"The process isn't very burdensome. Actually, I wrote a brief on behalf of seven of the counties describing how easy it was," Hebert says.

Those seven counties reported the average cost to bail out was less than $5,000. That includes proving the clean records of all the political subunits contained in each county, he says. The cost of bailing out would presumably fluctuate according to the size of the political unit and the number of subunits within it.

Compared to Texas, Virginia has a simpler governmental structure that does not involve as many political subunits, making it much easier for Virginia counties to succeed in opting out, Coleman says.

Since the Supreme Court's ruling, two political subunits (smaller than counties) have approached Hebert about seeking to bail out from Section Five. One — which he wouldn't identify — is in Texas.

Officials and attorneys from several small governmental entities have also broached the topic with Coleman, he says.

Sandlin had been unaware of Hebert's figures; still, he doubts that many municipalities will take advantage of the option to bail out. He says that 900 of Texas' 1,200 cities do not have local districts (and hence do not undertake redistricting), do not change election laws regularly and consequently do not have to apply for federal preclearance very often. (Add one more: This week, a federal judge ruled the City of Irving has to adopt single member districts for council elections because it's current system violates the VRA.)

"Right off the bat, most small cities won't do a bailout or opt out, because they don't ever go to the Department of Justice or do it once a decade," he says.

In 2006, Congress extended the VRA for 25 years, promising to revisit the act in 2016. Since the extension, the Justice Department has expressed objections to three Texas entities: to a Houston-area junior college district in 2006 regarding polling locations, to the State of Texas in 2008 regarding candidate qualifications for freshwater supply districts and to Gonzales County in March 2009 regarding bilingual election procedures. (Additionally, in 2006 the courts rejected portions of the 2003 congressional redistricting plan.)

That means if Texas and its thousands of political subunits maintain perfect voting rights records starting now, the earliest that Texas as a state could escape from Section Five's preclearance requirements is 2019 — two years before it's due to redraw congressional, statehouse and other political maps.

—by a Texas Weekly correspondent

Political Notes

Gov. Rick Perry has a 10-point lead over U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the latest Rasmussen Poll of the GOP gubernatorial primary. That survey has Perry at 46 percent and Hutchison at 36 percent and almost one in five voters up for grabs. In a poll in early May, the same pollster had Perry up by 4 points. That was a telephone survey of 776 "likely Republican primary voters" done on July 15; the margin of error is +/- 3.5 percent.

• There's another Republican candidate for governor. Debra Medina, chairwoman of the Wharton County GOP, raised $35,000 and had $9,000 in the bank at the end of June. And she blasted the governor for doing better, saying "many hardworking Texans are disgusted by the sorts of back room deals these numbers imply." She put up a website last month.

• U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Surfside, plans to kick off his reelection with a barbecue in Galveston in mid-August and says in a letter to supporters that he expects to have "at least two people" running against him in the GOP primary next year.

• Put Lubbock attorney Zach Brady on your watch list — he's filed papers and is considering a challenge to Rep. Delwin Jones in next year's Republican primary. Brady says he hasn't made up his mind whether he'll pull the trigger or not, but says, "West Texas is out-numbered in Austin, and people who care about the area have to play hard... Mr. Jones doesn't play hard anymore." Jones didn't want to bicker: "I let other candidates run their own deal. I just don't interfere with them. Everybody's got a right to run for office."

• Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, has a fight on his hands. After he said he wanted to run for governor, former Tyler Mayor Joey Seeber got into that race. Berman's not running for governor, but Seeber's staying in. And the challenger says he raised $50,000 in cash and pledges between June 19 and June 30.

Lowe Will Head SBOE

Gail Lowe, co-publisher of the Lampasas Dispatch Record, is Gov. Rick Perry's choice to head the State Board of Education.

Perry's first pick for the chairman's job, Don McLeroy of College Station, didn't get past confirmation by the Texas Senate. And outside groups like the Texas Freedom Network were stirred up earlier this week at the idea that Cynthia Dunbar of Richmond might be the governor's choice.

"Gail has shown exemplary leadership and commitment to the education of young Texans through her work on the State Board of Education for the past seven years, as a classroom volunteer assisting elementary school students with math and reading, and as a member of the Lampasas School District," Perry said in the press release announcing his choice. "I am confident that through her leadership, we will continue to ensure that Texans receive the educational foundation necessary to be successful in college, the workplace and beyond."

Lowe, a Republican, was first elected to the SBOE in 2002 in a district that stretches from the Red River to Central Texas. She's been less of a lightning rod than McLeroy or Dunbar, but generally votes with those two and the rest of the most conservative members of the board.

The TFN folks criticized Perry's choice. "It's disappointing that instead of choosing a mainstream conservative who could heal the divisions on the board, the governor once again appointed someone who repeatedly has put political agendas ahead of the education of Texas schoolchildren," said Kathy Miller, TFN's president. "Ms. Lowe has marched in lockstep with a faction of board members who believe that their personal beliefs are more important than the experience and expertise of teachers and academics who have dedicated their careers to educating our children and helping them succeed. We can only hope that she will rise above her history on the board and as chair keep fellow members from continuing to hold the education of our children hostage to divisive 'culture war' battles."

Others, like the Free Market Foundation, voiced support. "Our state and our schoolchildren will benefit greatly from Mrs. Lowe's service, care, and commitment as the new State Board of Education Chair," said Jonathan Saenz, that group's legislative director. "We hope that the usual critics will rise above their religious discrimination of the past and allow Mrs. Lowe to focus on the important education issues of our state."

Clean Slate

Sen. Rodney Ellis wants Attorney General Greg Abbott to say whether the governor has the power to grant a posthumous pardon.

Gov. Rick Perry says he doesn't have that power and that an opinion from former Attorney General Waggoner Carr says as much. Ellis asked the Texas Legislative Council for its opinion and got back a one-word answer — "possibly" — followed by a long explanation. Now he's asking Abbott for a modern opinion and says he's checking to see whether this will require a constitutional amendment. Ellis (with others) wants Perry to pardon Timothy Cole, who died in prison in 1999, serving time for a rape he did not commit.

Political People and Their Moves

Karen Hughes and Gordon Johnson are going to work as "strategic counselors" to Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. Hughes is a former U.S. Ambassador, counselor to President George W. Bush and spokeswoman for then-Gov. Bush. She's now an exec with Burson-Marsteller. Johnson is an Austin lawyer and lobbyist; he'll drop his lobbying clients to keep Straus out of hot water on that front. Both he and Hughes will be employed by Texans for Joe Straus and not for the State of Texas.

Rob Johnson, chief of staff to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, will leave that job to run Gov. Rick Perry's reelection campaign. Perry is gearing up for a race against challenger and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Both are using imported talent at the top: Her campaign manager, Rick Wiley, is from Wisconsin. Johnson is from Arkansas (and Perry's lead consultant, Dave Carney, is from New Hampshire). Perry also named a number of other staffers: Kevin Lindley will be campaign director; he'd been at the Republican Party of Texas. Krystle Kirchmeyer Alvarado, who worked on Perry's 2002 and 2006 campaigns, will be finance director. David White, whose most recent employer was Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, will be political director. And Sarah Floerke, who's been Perry's director of community affairs, will be the campaigns organization director. Johnson ran Dewhurst's last campaign, but this might keep him out of the next one. Dewhurst could be a candidate for U.S. Senate within the next year, if Hutchison decides to quit early — as she's told supporters she'll do — and if Dewhurst decides to run for what would then be an open seat. Barring that, he's up for reelection in 2010. Either way, he's gonna need someone to fill Johnson's shoes.

Barbara Best, who runs the Texas office of the Children's Defense Fund, won the Gertrude Manley Fellowship and will leave for ten months to study at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

Quotes of the Week

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, talking to The Hill about a recent poll that had her trailing Gov. Rick Perry by 11 percentage points (her campaign crowed about late 2008 polls that had her in the lead): "When I'm ahead in a poll, I don't think it means anything, and when I'm behind in a poll I don't think it means anything. I think this poll was flawed anyway, but you know, I think polls at this point are really not relevant. It's far away, and I haven't even started the campaign."

Democratic consultant Jason Stanford, quoted in the Austin American-Statesman on the amounts of money raised by the GOP's two gubernatorial candidates: "If you don't like politicians contacting you, and you vote in Republican primaries, I'd move."

Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia, musing about the campaign finance differences between Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison, in the San Antonio Express-News: "Generally, if spending is going to pick the nominee, it's spending of 2-to-1 or 3-to-1. A couple of extra million in Texas doesn't mean all that much."

El Paso County lobbyist Claudia Russell, talking to the El Paso Times about contributing $150 to Rep. Norma Chavez' $3,500 graduation party in Austin: "I don't know if I wanted to. I just kinda felt it was my duty to."

U.S. Senate candidate John Sharp, quoted in the Longview News-Journal: "Washington is a very political place, and Texas really needs a Democratic senator there. If you're going to have one, you might as well not have an idiot, so that's why I'm asking people to elect me."

Montgomery County Commissioner Ed Chance, on problems at prisons run by the GEO Group, in The Dallas Morning News: "When you're dealing with inmates, you're going to have problems. You're going to have some headlines."

Texas Weekly: Volume 26, Issue 28, 20 July 2009. Ross Ramsey, Editor. Copyright 2009 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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