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The Brief: January 19, 2010

It's Debra Medina's moment.

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

GOP gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina had a nice weekend.

On Monday the updated Rasmussen Reports poll reflected the dark-horse Medina is polling 12 percent support in her race against Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. That’s a 200 percent increase from just a few months back.

She is still a speck in the Perry camp’s rearview mirror — the incumbent’s support stands at a solid 43 percent — and is a considerable distance from Hutchison’s 33 percent.

But the ground Medina has gained has opened the door to another debate with Perry and Hutchison — and another chance for critics to come away somewhat impressed by her performance.

Medina’s camp received word on Monday that officials at Belo and The Dallas Morning News would let her in to the Jan. 29 WFAA-TV in Dallas. They had originally decided she did not meet their qualifications, which included “15 percent standing in independent public opinion polls.”

So how did 12 percent become 15? It didn’t exactly.

“The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, meaning each result can vary that much in either direction,” explains The Dallas Morning NewsGromer Jeffers. Jeffers adds, however, that because the Rasmussen poll relied on automated telephone calls, its results do not meet the standards of the DMN and other media outlets. Ultimately it was Medina’s jump from single to double digits that convinced WFAA officials she was worthy.

 CULLED:

• Speaking of reversals, will Democratic gubernatorial candidate Farouk Shami file amended finance reports this week? According to the Houston businessman’s Jan. 15 reports with the Texas Ethics Commission, Shami contributed $150,000 to Hank Gilbert, his former opponent. As the Tribune’s Ross Ramsey reports, the contribution should have been reported on a “schedule G.” Both camps denied rumors about the transaction when they surfaced months ago, so we’ll see if revised statements follow amended figures. And both say it had nothing to do with Gilbert's move from the governor's race to the race for agriculture commission.

• The Texas Tea Party thinks “big government sucks.” No surprise there, but the size of the Tea Party rally last weekend just might be to some. On a mission to prove they are not just a bunch if loose hangers on, the anti-tax demonstrators launched a Texas-sized assault against big government at the Capitol on Saturday. As common a site as the anti-Obama and anti-Perry signs was the pro-Medina propaganda.

MUST READ:

Former state senator and Averitt mentor Sibley to ask Averitt to reconsider withdrawing from raceWaco Tribune-Herald

Debra Medina isn't going awayAustin American Statesman

Hutchison proposes new regulations for lobbyistsAssociated Press

Openly HostileTexas Tribune

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