The Brief: November 19, 2009

The race for governor has a future in radio.

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

The race for governor has a future in radio.

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s decision to remain in the Senate during the primary doesn’t mean she isn’t taking the race seriously. Today, she will take to the airwaves with a radio ad that represents the first major media buy of the campaign, a development first reported by Wayne Slater of The Dallas Morning News.

Stations received the ad yesterday and, starting today, it will run statewide through the remainder of November.  So, if you haven’t heard it already this morning, you can expect to very soon.

Many Republican primary voters may have already heard Hutchison’s disembodied voice on their phones.  A robo-call has been dispatched to explain Hutchison’s decision to remain in the Senate.  Jason Embry has the audio.

“Hello, this is Kay Bailey Hutchison,” it says.  “By now, you’ve probably heard.  To defeat the government takeover of healthcare, I’m staying in the Senate while I run for governor. As a lifelong conservative, I simply cannot walk away from that fight. It might make my run for governor tougher, but that's a risk I must take." 

So, what will the radio spot say? Will it go after the recently released Senate healthcare bill that Hutchison has committed to fighting? Will it slam Gov. Rick Perry? Will it meditate on the potential post-primary challenge of Farouk Shami?  Hutchison spokesman Joe Pounder says, “Wait and see.”

Bottom line: Get your popcorn popping because, with the radio campaign now under way, television ads can’t be too far behind — and this promises to be quite a show.

CULLED:

How about a brand new governor at a bargain price? Businessman and Democrat Farouk Shami, who will officially announce his candidacy today in Houston, will run the state in exchange for just $1 a year. “This state has given me plenty — now it’s time for me to give back,” he said. The billionaire developer of popular hair care products has a message to those who doubt his prospects. ““I know this race will not be easy,” he said. “But who would have thought only a few years ago that a young man named Barack Hussein Obama could be elected to the most powerful job on earth.”

• Rep. Kelly Hancock, R-Fort Worth, will face a familiar foe in his primary.  Former North Richland Hills Mayor Charles Scoma confirmed to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he will challenge Hancock.  Semi-retired, Scoma cited Hancock’s opposition to a local-option transportation funding package as the impetus for the run.  Hancock easily defeated Scoma when they first ran against each other in 2006.

• Rep. Joe Heflin of Crosbyton is still a Democrat and, at an event in Big Spring today, will formally announce that he is seeking re-election as such.  Heflin has been encouraged by many of his Republican colleagues to join their party in what might be an easier fit for his conservative district.  “Right now, I'm just going to stay where I'm at," Heflin told the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

• Three Democratic gubernatorial candidates — Hank GilbertTom Schieffer, and Felix Alvarado — gathered in Fort Worth Tuesday night for a political forum. Not surprisingly, all three criticized Gov. Rick Perry's management of the state. Two other candidates, Kinky Friedman and Farouk Shami, did not attend. The Dallas Morning News’ Gromer Jeffers, Jr., wrote that is wasn’t much of a debate because “getting the questions in advance takes the drama out of the event and makes it more like a discussion of issues the organizers feel are important.”  However, while the discussion was in progress, Gilbert’s campaign engaged in rapid response, blasting Schieffer's performance — but ignoring Alvarado's — via Twitter and e-mail.

• Houston electrician Dave Wilson loves his city, and he fears for it.  Specifically, he fears that it will become extinct, because, he says, “homosexual behavior leads to extinction.” Annise Parker, the front-runner heading into Houston’s mayoral run-off, happens to openly gay.  Wilson is the man behind 35,000 anti-gay fliers being distributed to Houston voters this week. They depict Parker alongside her longtime partner under a headline, “Is this the image Houston wants to portray?” According to KHOU-TV, Parker’s opponent Gene Locke says he has never met Wilson and emphatically rejects Wilson’s message.

 •With a vote of 5-2, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended Wednesday to commute the sentence of Robert Lee Thompson to life in prison.  Thompson is set to be executed this evening for his role in the fatal shooting of a Houston store clerk.  His fate now rests in the hands of Gov. Rick Perry, who is not required to follow the board’s recommendations.

“If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat?” — Sarah Palin, in her new tell-all book, Going Rogue: An American Life.

MUST READ:

Senate unveils health-care billThe Washington Post

Perry: Time For Governors To Push BackPolitics Nation

Critics: Not enough Latinos in proposed school curriculumAustin American-Statesman

Texas' low-income residents paying high share of taxes, study findsThe Dallas Morning News

SELBY: Twists could still lie ahead in gov raceAustin American-Statesman

Did Killeen get a fair shake in the media?Killeen Daily Herald

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