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The Brief: March 1, 2010

'Twas the day before the election, when all through the state/ The candidates were stirring, preparing for the big date/ The polls had been done by the pollsters with care/ But hopes remained that some wiggle room still would be there…

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'Twas the day before the election, when all through the state/ The candidates were stirring, preparing for the big date/ The polls had been done by the pollsters with care/ But hopes remained that some wiggle room still would be there…

Happy Election Day Eve, everybody!

Candidates will be making their final pitches all over the state today. The question on everyone’s mind is, “Are any of the gubernatorial front-runners coming to my area?”  If your area is Dallas, then the answer is a definite, “Yes!”

Republican Gov. Rick Perry will be swinging through Beaumont, Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas.

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison will be busy making campaign stops in Texarkana, Tyler, Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Dallas.

Debra Medina will host a live town hall webcast on her website this evening. It will be viewable by all we internet-savvy Texans, including those in Dallas.

On the Democratic side, former Houston Mayor Bill White will hit San Antonio and finish up the day in, of all places, Dallas.

Where is Farouk Shami? Good question.  If you see him, let us know. Update: He'll be doing a series of interviews from his campaign headquarters.

Further down the ballot, the outcome of a number of races remains up in the air as they head into the final hours. Some examples:

In El Paso, incumbent state Rep. Norma Chávez’s lead appears to have disappeared as she finds herself neck and neck with challenger Naomi Gonzalez.  In Dallas, incumbent Democratic state Rep. Terri Hodge has pleaded guilty to making false statements on her income tax return, agreed to step down, and endorsed her opponent, Eric Johnson — but supporters are still rallying in her favor.  A similar situation is occurring in Waco, where incumbent Republican state Sen. Kip Averitt has indicated he will resign for health reasons, but some are struggling to warm to Darren Yancy.

Speaking of laying the groundwork for Election Day, here’s a message from the Tribune’s own Elise Hu:

We're planning live Election Day and election night updates that rely on the eyes and ears and pocket cameras of you — our readers. Starting at noon tomorrow, we'll begin live updates of the day with photos and information from polling places and candidate parties from around the state. This is basically a massive crowd-sourcing project that we can't undertake without you. Wherever you are tomorrow, snap photos or just email updates. Send all your updates to media@texastribune.org — and, as usual, we'll also be available on Twitter all day. Tell all your friends.

CULLED

• Gov. Rick Perry isn't just preparing for Election Day. He's preparing to mark an unfortunate first for Texas. Tim Cole was wrongly convicted for rape in 1996  and sentenced to 25 years in jail, where he died in 1999. Last week, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted in favor of granting Cole clemency, and a spokesman for Perry says he intends to pardon him.  It will be the state’s first posthumous pardon.

• Texans between the ages of 18 and 24 are no longer special.  In the long forgotten days of last week, Texans over 18 could get their first driver’s license without putting in any classroom time.  Starting today, the under-24s will have to take a six-hour driver’s education course.

• Gov. Rick Perry advisor Dave Carney is not too worried about the possibility of his candidate facing Bill White in the general election.  In an e-mail obtained by the Tribune over the weekend, he writes, “Voter registration, voter intensity and the issues matrix in 2010 make any democrat (sic) the longest of long shots to be competitive."  White’s campaign responded: “This is an unusual characterization since most people know Bill White as a successful businessman and popular mayor who knows how to bring people together to get things done, like cutting tax rates 5 years in a row while getting more for taxpayer's money.”

• It may be a mistake, or it may be funny business. A flyer encouraging voters to cast their ballot for Debra Medina is making the rounds.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, except for one thing — it says the election is on March 7, 2010.  Reminder to all voters: The primary election is tomorrow, March 2, 2010.

“When I’m the governor, you’re the governor! Everybody is the governor!” — Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Farouk Shami

MUST READ:

Elections will tell us just how potent Tea Party's brew isDallas Morning News

State aims to make groundwater rules more uniformAustin American Statesman

Texas electricity deregulation opinions all over the grid in industry panelDallas Morning News

Galveston counting big-time on censusHouston Chronicle

State-budget cuts could total $1.5 billionEl Paso Times

Bill White eagerly watches Perry-Hutchison battle in Texas — Washington Post

GOP propositions included on ballotAbilene Reporter-News

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