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The Brief: December 18, 2009

Is this the end of the line, Carl?

THE BIG CONVERSATION

Is this the end of the line, Carl? 

Rumors are swirling in the hometown of state Rep. Carl Isett, R-Lubbock, that he won’t be seeking an eighth term.

Isett has remained mum on the matter, but we are told he will make an announcement on the matter today. 

Here’s our Ross Ramsey with a little background:

Isett, an accountant first elected in 1996, is on the Appropriations and Insurance committees, and also serves on the Sunset Advisory Commission. He's an officer in the Navy Reserve, and his wife Cheri served some of his time in the House while he was called to duty.

Isett didn't have an opponent in 2008, either in the general or in the primary election, and won the two elections before that without breaking a sweat. He tromped Democrat Pearlie Mayfield in 2006, winning by a two-to-one margin. And he got 68 percent of the vote in the 2004 general election against Democrat Freda McVay. Isett got 58 percent of the votes in his worst general election, in 1996. It's Republican territory: The average Republican statewide candidate beat the average Democrat there by 26 percentage points in the 2008 and 2006 elections.

CULLED 

Democratic legisaltors Garnet Coleman of Houston, Jim Dunnam of Waco, and Pete Gallego of Alpine are announcing they'll support Houston Mayor Bill White for governor. The three legislators came out early for Fort Worth's Tom Schieffer, who exited the race as White entered. Two others — Farouk Shami of Houston and Felix Alvarado, an educator — are both seeking the Democratic nomination.

The Dallas Morning News' Wayne Slater was hoping to do a little light reading — but when he got to Gov. Rick Perry’s online bio, he noticed something had changed. “Gone from Rick Perry's biography is any mention of the Trans-Texas Corridor, the beleaguered toll-road project the governor once touted as a crowning jewel accomplishment of his tenure in office,” Slater writes, noting other omissions as well. Perry spokesman Allison Castle told him the changes were routine.

Newsweek has done its best Carnac the Magnificent impression and divined that the next governor of Texas will be ... drumroll please...Bill White?! In a recently released list of 10 political predictions for 2010, number 10 is "Democrats Steal Texas Governor's Mansion." If Newsweek's future sources are right, White's defeated opponent in November will be Rick Perry, who will have toppled Kay Bailey Hutchison in the March primary.  There's no word on if she's managed to escape the U.S. Senate by that point.

• If the only thing that could make your holiday season better is a signed football form Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, be sure to sign up for his newly released “Dewhurst’s College Football Challenge.”

“Just hope the Mesquite music teacher doesn't have any pictures of Beethoven on the walls. And please make sure the Social Studies or History teacher doesn't put up a poster of Frederick Douglass. And dare I even mention, ahem, Jesus?”  — James Ragland, columnist for The Dallas Morning News, on the story of a 4-year old Mesquite boy suspended from pre-K for his too-long locks.

MUST READ:

By lingering in Senate, Hutchison risks bid for governorThe Dallas Morning News

Legal aid group sues state over food stamp application backlogAustin American-Statesman

More Texans apply for Social Security Disability Insurance -- and waitFort Worth Star-Telegram

Steep decline in death sentencesHouston Chronicle

Frequent Flyers — The Texas Tribune

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