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The Brief: April 5, 2010

The April runoff is the plain, forgotten cousin of the March primary. Even so, today — the start of early voting — marks the beginning of the end for the April election cycle. That means it’s time to recap.

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THE BIG CONVERSATION:

The April runoff is the plain, forgotten cousin of the March primary. Even so, today — the start of early voting — marks the beginning of the end for the April election cycle. That means it’s time to recap.

With a few exceptions, soon each party will know the candidates they’ll run in November’s general election. As of yet there are no predictions for turnout, but runoffs typically draw low numbers of voters, especially when there’s no hotly contested race topping the ticket.

There are some high profile local contests, however, that could change that. Here are a few to keep your eyes on:

· CD-17 where Rob Curnock and Bill Flores are vying for who’ll receive the GOP nod to challenge longtime, and some believe, precarious, incumbent Chet Edwards.

· HD-83 and HD-84, two Lubbock area House seats. In the first, Tea-partier Charles Perry is taking on incumbent Delwin Jones; in the second, Mark Griffin and John Frullo compete to see who will snag Carl Isett’s old spot. Here's a history of outside contributions to the region’s legislative races from the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

· HD-76, the contentious El Paso race where Texans for Lawsuit Reform-backed Naomi Gonzalez is challenging incumbent Norma Chavez.

· HD-47 in Travis County, where contractor Paul Workman and lawyer Holly White Turner each want to steal the seat from Democrat Valinda Bolton.

Then there’s the only statewide race on the ballot, the Supreme Court Place 3 runoff between former legislator Rick Green and Fort Worth family court judge Debra Lehrmann.

For more of the runoff spirit, check out the Texas Tribune’s listing of April races here, and our full coverage of the runoffs here. And stay tuned for analysis of post-primary financial reports, which come out with the Texas Ethics Commission this week.

CULLED:

· Texas prisoners just landed in the middle of another unlucky statistic: the most sexually-abused. The top two prisons in a national ranking of sexual abuse behind bars are in the state: the Estelle Unit and the Clements Unit. In addition, Texas holds five of the top ten prisons on the list. At Estelle, 15.7 percent of prisoners report abuse; that’s compared with a rate of 4.5 percent nationally.

· In census news, urban counties in Texas will lose about 67,000 residents to rural areas because of the survey’s method of counting prisoners and students. Prisoners are counted depending on where they are inmates, rather than where they were convicted, and students are counted in their dormitories or apartments rather than their parents’ homes.

· Today at the Capitol, the state will hold public hearings on its proposed plan to store radioactive waste from around the country. The House Select Committee on Government Efficiency and Accountability will also meet to hear testimony on how the state can improve its operations.

· Sen. John Cornyn sounded off on the Republican National Committee’s recent hiccup, which came in the form of an expensed excursion to a “bondage-themed restaurant,” saying: "It's a distraction, it's an embarrassment and it shouldn't have happened.”

MUST READ:

Feds chase Mexico cartels' U.S. partnersHouston Chronicle

Texas gun case could play role in health care suitThe Associated Press

Are Texas' Hispanics ready to go Democrat?Houston Chronicle

Fleeing violence, more Mexicans seek U.S. asylumMcClatchy Newspapers

The Runoffs: Our Final Four — The Texas Tribune

 

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