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The Brief: November 30, 2009

With the Thanksgiving behind us, it’s time to put noses back to the grindstone — unless you are state Rep. Dan Gattis, R-Georgetown.

THE BIG CONVERSATION

With the Thanksgiving behind us, it’s time to put noses back to the grindstone — unless you are state Rep. Dan Gattis, R-Georgetown.

News broke Sunday that Gattis is dropping his bid for Texas Senate, and the man he would have replaced, state Sen. Steve Ogden, is stepping back in.  The Bryan Republican had announced his retirement in September.

Gattis said that his political life had distracted him from his personal life with his family and his professional life at his law practice.  He is not ruling out a future run for political office, but it’s not in the cards at this time.  He will not be seeking reelection to his House seat.

This is good news for the three candidates — Milton Rister, Charles Schwertner, and Cedar Park City Councilman Stephen Thomas — who have been campaigning to replace Gattis.

Ogden, who had promised Gattis he would step out of his way, is a three-term chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and an experienced hand that will provide many comfort as the state heads into a tough economic stretch.

Because of the upcoming redistricting period, all members of the Texas Legislature will be up for re-election in 2012 —so everyone, including Ogden, seeking election in 2010 is only after a two-year term.

CULLED

• The other big shake-up in Texas politics is the anticipated entry of Houston Mayor Bill White into the governor’s race.  Anyone wondering which way he’s leaning should consider this: An Austin rally featuring White and other Texas Democrats is already set for Sunday, a mere two days after he is expected to announce his final decision. According to White spokesperson Katy Bacon, a short  (and currently ongoing) period of reaching out to voters has brought in over 4,000 emails, hundreds of Facebook messages and comments, and “too many tweets to track.”

• Knowing what she knows now, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison would not have voted for the TARP legislation.  This and other revelations were made when she appeared on WFAA-TV’s “Inside Texas Politics” and spoke extensively on her time in the Senate and the heated GOP primary race. She also shed light on the icing over of the relationship between herself and Gov. Rick Perry. “He has made politics a contact sport,” she said.  “It is obscene the things that he has done to me and said to me personally.”  Tom Benning examines this love lost in this morning’s Dallas Morning News — including the bittersweet note that the two used to exchange "handwritten birthday notes and congratulatory letters."     

• A historic debate on healthcare reform is set to begin this afternoon at 3 p.m. in the U.S. Senate.  And when will it end? Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, tells Politico, "When there are 60 votes.” 

“In Texas, that is the equivalent of leaving it to the church.” — comedian Argus Hamilton on the news that actress Farrah Fawcett left money in her will to old boyfriend Gregory Lott, an ex-Longhorns football player.

MUST READ:

• Filing starts Thursday for hundreds of elections — Fort Worth Star-Telegram

• Gov. Rick Perry's trip to Vegas includes bachelor party for his son — The Dallas Morning News

• Outdated, overcrowded: Rural county jails shackled by ageAmarillo Globe-News

• Political reality setting in for West Texas DemocratsLubbock Avalanche-Journal

• Hinojosa: Top Latinos need to join White on statewide Democratic ticketRio Grande Guardian

• Turkeys of the YearHouston Press

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