THE BIG CONVERSATION
For a campaign that is all about creating jobs, Farouk Shami was very quick to end some.
Shami, running as a Democrat for governor, fired four of his top aides, including campaign manager Joel Coon and communications director Jason Stanford. Both had been onboard for less than three weeks.
A communications director might have helped yesterday when Shami was asked about his voting record.
As reported by our Elise Hu, according to Montgomery County Elections Administrator Carol Gaultney, Shami hasn’t voted in a general election since 2004, which means he didn't cast a ballot for independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman (to whom he donated $24,400) or Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, who Shami calls his inspiration.
As far as primaries go, there's no record of him voting as a Democrat in his home county at least as far back as 1996. He did, however, vote in the Republican primary in 2000.
Shami’s current staff contends that some of the information is incorrect — they say he did vote for Obama.
Shami’s campaign, which he pledged to sink $10 million of his own money into, is charging full-speed ahead. Today, they will open a new campaign office in San Antonio.
• “Texas is one step closer to freedom!” So said the campaign announcement from the Debra Medina camp after she filed to be on the Republican primary ballot as a candidate for Governor. As Medina, who wears the “Tea Party” label proudly, stepped into the race, she accused at least one opponent (Gov. Rick Perry) of running away, "each time we confirm, the governor cancels." Perry spokesman Mark Miner says that’s “just not true.” Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison are expected to square off on Jan. 14 in a debate that Medina’s camp says she has not been invited to. Hutchison spokesman Joe Pounder said, “We would welcome Medina's involvement in the January debate."
• Kinky Friedman is taking his time. His campaign’s general consultant Colin Strother told us yesterday not to expect an expected decision on his campaign status. And, sure enough, it didn’t come. “"The only announcement today is that we have no announcement,” said a campaign statement. “Kinky has invested 7 months and a lot of money in this race and is not going to rush a decision that will so significantly impact the ticket.” They expect the process to take “a few more days.”
• U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison outlined her plan to protect private property yesterday. Among her first acts as Governor, she said, would be to issue an “emergency declaration” so that the Legislature can consider the issue during the first 60 days in the 2011 session.
“The main reason for resigning early before term ceases, I care not to work with new council members through computers with all the questions and answers cut and dried before meetings." — Lucille Drain, 96-years old and, until recently, the state’s oldest elected official.
Corruption cases in U.S. law agencies rise —El Paso Times
Caven's Quest, Part One — The Texas Tribune
White quick to cast barbs — The Associated Press
Texas lawmakers denounce EPA 'endangerment' finding — Texas on the Potomac
Medina says White changes GOP race — PoliTex
Texas group to sue over whooping crane deaths — The Associated Press