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The Brief: February 10, 2010

Paging Dr. Doug Ross. Debra Medina may soon be endangering your popularity.

GOP Gubernatorial Debate at The University of North Texas, Debra Medina

THE BIG CONVERSATION

Paging Dr. Doug Ross. Nurse Debra Medina may soon be endangering your popularity.

Medina's campaign should be giddy. Yesterday's Public Policy Poll reported that, with 24 percent of the primary vote, the registered nurse from Beeville is now within four points of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Gov. Rick Perry had 39 percent, leaving Hutchison with 28.

The news is huge for Medina, who has struggled to be seen as more than a spoiler who would force a run-off for the other two candidates.

After all, it was only a few weeks ago that Medina's campaign had to fight to get the candidate in the first Republican debate. Even after good reviews for her performance there, it was still another fight to be in the second debate.

Interestingly, the poll received attention in several news outlets across the country. A national fascination with Tea Party candidates, (and Tea-approved candidates) has made Medina's campaign a bit of a touchstone for national press.

“Texans are smart,” said campaign manager Penny Lanford Freeman in a press release. “They see the fighting between Kay and Rick and know that they no longer have the people as their first priority. Debra speaks to the people with truth, respect and honor and Texans appreciate being able to support a real Texan at last!”

I still think the campaign should consider a spot on Grey’s Anatomy a secondary option.

CULLED

• Cracks in the foundations? Homebuilding magnate Bob Perry is back in court with the Culls, an elderly couple who say his company, Perry Homes, built them a defective house. The Culls already won $800,000 in arbitration, but Perry refused to pay, saying they had waived their rights. The case, between a modest-means couple and a major political contributor (Perry's given millions to politicians over the years) is sure to gain public interest. It may be even more symbolic of the "working man's fight" than the spat between Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno.

• A sunshiney day? Democratic gubernatorial candidate Farouk Shami picked up the Mexican American Democrats endorsements yesterday. His competitor, Bill White already got the Tejano Democrats of Texas endorsement a month back. You have to wonder if Shami's memorable debate points on dealing with immigration had anything to do with yesterday's timing.

• Forbidden reading. When Gov. Rick Perry announced the state would not compete in Race To The Top, he didn't emphasize the fact that the Texas Education Agency had already invested 800 hours in filling out the application. But now, those hoping to find out what exactly those 800 hours looked like are out of luck. The Houston Chronicle was denied Public Information Access to information, based on Education Commissioner Robert Scott's decision.  

"No officeholder is irreplaceable, and no one is indispensable" — Councilwoman Linda DeLeon of Lubbock on not seeking re-election after 24 years in office.

MUST READ

From farm to politics, Perry follows in family's footstepsAustin American-Statesman

Hutchison calls education a prioritySan Antonio Express-News 

US Rep Sheila Jackson Lee gets rare challengeFort Worth Star-Telegram

NASA chief: Mars is our missionHouston Chronicle

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