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The Brief: February 22, 2010

Today marks the start of the last full week before the March 2 primaries. Accordingly, the papers are spilling some serious ink on down-ballot races.

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THE BIG CONVERSATION:

Today marks the start of the last full week before the March 2 primaries. Accordingly, the papers, which have been covering the gubernatorial heats all along, are spilling some serious ink on down-ballot races.

A survey of their offerings:

• In Amarillo, the Republican primary contest to challenge Democrat Joe Heflin of HD-85 has been “more or less under the radar,” but expect that to change once the winner goes on to challenge him in November. That candidate will have an infusion of cash from the statewide political action committee GO-PAC, formed by Republican legislators after last year’s session, which has the district in its crosshairs.

• Outside money has already made it into Irving’s HD-105 primaries, where two-thirds of the campaign contributions aren’t from within the city. The majority of funds belonging to incumbent Republican Linda Harper-Brown’s two hopeful Democratic challengers, Loretta Haldenwang and Kim Limberg, comes from non-district donors. Forty-two percent of Harper-Brown’s coffers has origins outside of Irving.

• The San Antonio Express-News devotes some space to the three races for spots on the Kendall County Commissioners Court, whose incumbents each drew primary challengers.  What’s at stake? “Limiting taxes, managing growth, and assuring future water availability” for the Boerne area.

• U.S. Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Carrollton, faces a primary challenger in Grapevine real estate broker and developer Frank Roszell. Roszell makes it clear he wants to capitalize on this election cycle’s anti-Washington message: "Do the voters want a true change in Washington, D.C.? The voters cannot realize a change by sending the same poor-performing people back to office."

CULLED:

• In Hidalgo County, election monitors hope that mobile voting units, which “take voting machines to the voters” will cut the influence of politiqueras, whom candidates often rely on to transport voters to the polls and have “long been a campaign strategy in the Rio Grande Valley.”

• “GOP party crasher” Dan Patrick of SD-7 is drawing anti-establishment ire for possible involvement in 2-11 — that is, the day Glenn Beck asked GOP gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina whether she believed in the 9-11 truther movement.

• Brazoria County Congressman Ron Paul made waves at the annual C-PAC conference this weekend, managing to beat out Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Sarah Palin in a straw poll for 2012 potential presidential nominees. His victory drew cheers and jeers from the crowd, and led Politico to conclude the poll is “all but irrelevant.”

• Gun-owners can start packing heat in national parks today, if their state allows it (Texas, of course, does). But wait before you get too excited — it's still illegal to discharge them.

“When the forces of darkness are licking their wounds, let's get out there.” — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White, referring to his GOP rivals as he described his post-primary strategy.

MUST READ:

DNA DeceptionThe Texas Tribune

By plane, by motor home, by car, GOP gubernatorial candidates take their message to villages, cities, suburbsThe Dallas Morning News

McReynolds: Prison cuts 'could have rippling effects’ across TexasThe Lufkin Daily News

Texas Senator Now a Challenger Lagging in PollsThe New York Times

National parks allow firearms starting todayThe Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Bail bonds no bounty for Harris CountyThe Houston Chronicle

For Texas school superintendents, frequent turnover becomes part of the jobThe Fort Worth Star-Telegram

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