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The Brief: December 16, 2009

Larry, we hardly knew ye.

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

Larry, we hardly knew ye.

Secessionist Larry Kilgore has dropped out of the Republican primary race for governor.

He announced his departure on Facebook and offered reassurance to his supporters.  “The campaign has always been about Texas Secession and not about me; therefore the campaign for Texas Secession has not ended,” the post read.

Kilgore has plenty of primary experience.  He got 226,649 votes – over 18 percent — in a 2008 challenge against U.S. Sen. John Cornyn.  In 2006, he came in a very distant second — with nearly 8 percent of the vote — to Gov. Rick Perry in the four-way 2006 Republican gubernatorial pimary.

Now, he is throwing his support behind Tea Party participant Debra Medina, who shares much of his anti-federal government sentiment.  Kilgore says he expects his endorsement to boost Medina into an eventual run-off with either U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Gov. Rick Perry.

Dave Montgomery of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram astutely remarks, “Kilgore’s prediction runs counter to the prevailing view that, if there is a runoff, it would be between Perry and Hutchison.”

With Kilgore in her corner, Medina — who says she's in it to win it — may yet be a player in this race, though not necessarily in her desired role. Her poll numbers have been in the mid-to-high single digits, high enough to at least put her in position to force a run-off between Hutchison and Perry should their race turn out to be close.

CULLED:

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s interim charges for Senate committees have been rolling out gradually.  Yesterday, he announced his desire for the Senate Education Committee to focus on the high-school preparedness of middle-schoolers, the focus and preparedness of charter schools, and opportunities for achieving cost efficiencies.

• Hair-care business executive Farouk Shami officially filed to run for governor in the Texas Democratic primary yesterday.  His time in the race briefly overlapped with that of Kinky Friedman, who will officially file today for agriculture commissioner. In that race, Friedman will face fellow former gubernatorial candidate Hank Gilbert in the primary.

• A decision has been reached. El Paso City Rep. Beto O’Rourke will not challenge U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso.  O’Rourke, who would have had to give up his current position to run for Congress, says, “"At this time I feel I can do the most for my city and my community by staying in my seat." 

• Republican Bill Burch announced his intentions to fight for the Texas House seat currently held by state Rep. Paula Pierson, D-Arlington.  Before he can take on Pierson, he’ll have to face former Arlington City Councilwoman Barbara Nash in the primary.

• U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who gets a glowing shout-out from Ross Perot today, will be spending another day in DC today working against healthcare reform. Yesterday, she introduced a motion — to be debated today — to send the legislation back to the Senate Finance Committee “with instructions that no taxes or fees be imposed on American families and businesses until the supposed benefits of the bill have begun.”  Meanwhile, her primary opponent, Gov. Rick Perry, was in Waco, where he proposed a $160 million expansion of high school and college-level high-tech education programs throughout the state.

• The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service might add nine species of Texas freshwater mussels to the federal endangered species list.  That may sound like a small thing, but, as Colin McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News writes, it “could change the management of rivers and watersheds across the state.” Fish and Wildlife Biologist Charrish Stevens says, “It's going to open up probably a really big sore politically, because water is already an issue.”

 "I recognize, as our founders did, that the police can't get there fast enough," — Debra Medina, Republican candidate for governor, on why she keeps a semi-automatic pistol in her car.

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Home Alone — The Texas Tribune

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