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The Brief: January 20, 2010

What do 41 Republicans in the U.S. Senate mean to Texas?

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

They still have a few things in common.

It didn’t take Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison too long to thumb their noses at Washington Democrats after Republican Scott Brown’s upset over Martha Coakley for the vacant Massachusetts Senate seat.

From Perry: “His election, along with the election last November of Republican governors in Virginia and New Jersey, should send a loud and clear message that the states of this great nation will continue to reject the misguided policies coming out of Washington, D.C.”

And from Hutchison: “This historic win sends a clear message to President Obama and the Democrats in Congress. The American people, no matter whether they come from Texas or Massachusetts, are angry with the Democrats' proposal for a government takeover of our healthcare system and the out of control spending we've seen in the last year.”

Hutchison said she was looking forward to working with Brown in the Senate — mainly to reverse the Obama’s administration’s call to “socialize medicine” — indicating, against, she's not  completely ready to resign her U.S. Senate seat.

Brown’s victory also gave Hutchison a little rebound opportunity after the latest Rasmussen Reports poll had her trailing Perry by double-digit figures. Joe Pounder, the Hutchison campaign’s communications director, released his camp’s analysis of  the polls after Brown’s victory.

“The last Rasmussen poll on this race had Democrat Martha Coakley winning by 2 percentage points. Tonight, she lost,” he stated. “That’s very pertinent as you consider what Rasmussen is reporting in this race.”

What Pounder didn’t expand on, however, was GOP candidate Debra Medina’s three-fold increase in support — from four to 12 percent support — and what that could mean for the March Primary election.

Brown’s election news capped a busy day for the Hutchison camp. Earlier Tuesday it unveiled a new TV spot featuring former Houston Astros and Texas Ranger ace Nolan Ryan. Just hours later and hoping to make Perry look every bit like the mound-charging Robin Ventura, she announced she was being endorsed by Texas GOP heavyweight and former Secretary of State Jim Baker

CULLED:

• Kinky Friedman, a former Democratic gubernatorial candidate currently seeking the state’s agriculture commissioner spot, weighed in on the cash flow from his former opponent, Farouk Shami, to Friedman’s current opponent, Hank Gilbert. “Gilbert was trashing Farouk one day and then cozying up to him the next, and this accounts for it," Friedman told the Dallas Morning News, working off a story that started here.

• Will state Sen. Kip Averitt be pulled back in? At least one of Averitt’s mentor’s hopes so. Averitt last week announced suddenly that due to health concerns he would not seek another term in the state senate, leaving the door wide open for Burleson Republican Darren Yancy. But former state senator David Sibley told the Waco Tribune-Herald he’s hoping to talk Averitt into staying.

• The education beat is beginning to look like the gift that keeps on giving. After covering last week’s wrangling at the SBOE over who and what should be included in public school textbooks, the Tribune’s Brian Thevenot reports on how school districts in Texas might be able to circumvent state leaders to grab a chunk of the $1.35 billion in federal monies the Obama administration might offer up. At least one Texas school district already has its eyes on the prize.

MUST READ:

• What does Massachusetts mean for us?Austin American Statesman

• Leaders of Fort Hood review to avoid Hasan queries. – Associated Press 
• Texas Faith: Do religions oppress women? – The Dallas Morning News 
• Trial begins for suspected member of Gulf Cartel kidnapping cell.  – McAllen Monitor 

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