THE BIG CONVERSATION:
Get out your streamers and sparkles and red, white and blue (oh, and your cowboy boot raffle ticket, too). It's the state Republican convention!
Thousands of activists and party members will descend on Dallas this weekend for the party's biennial gathering, which kicks off today at the Dallas Convention Center. Attendees will rally, debate and and delight in the anti-Washington — and anti-Democratic — sentiment on which Republicans nationwide are now riding high.
Amid the revelry, attendees will also be choosing a new party chairman — who could steer the party back on course after running itself deeply into the red — and develop a party platform. The Tribune's Morgan Smith reports that the platform, while still holding some sway over consensus-building, now operates mainly as a guide for Texas Republicans: Some call it a "useful tool"; others don't even read it.
But even strife over debt and worries about the party's potentially abrasive posturing on illegal immigration won't deter the convention's loudest and proudest, who will be there to cheer on keynote speaker Rick Perry, who is said to be receiving an endorsement from former rival Kay Bailey Hutchison at a Federation of Republican Women breakfast this morning.
Democrats, meanwhile, are already geared up with a video taking us on a trip back to once upon a time, when Hutchison and Perry weren't each other's biggest fans. Also, remember the mobile home the AFL-CIO offered Perry in May after news surfaced that the state was paying $10,000 a month for his rental property? It's gone missing from its lot in Austin, and rumor has it the trailer could be on its way to the Big D.
For now, though, hold that raffle ticket tight, because those cowboy boots could be yours.
- Matt Angle, the Democratic operative who heads the left-leaning Lone Star Project, has called on Gov. Rick Perry to fire consultant Dave Carney, who the project alleges helped organize the petition to get the Green Party on the ballot in the fall to siphon votes from Democrats. Meanwhile, Democrats are taking the Greens to court to investigate the specifics behind the deal, details of which The Dallas Morning News broke this week.
- Bill White, mired in accusations from the Perry camp that he profiteered off Hurricane Rita relief efforts, further attempted to grab hold of the discussion Thursday, holding a press conference to call Perry's allegations — which came a day after White had released his tax returns — a lie.
- Federal officials said Thursday that a civil-rights investigation is now underway in response to the shooting of a Mexican teenager by a U.S. Border Patrol agent on Monday. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called the incident "extremely regrettable" and said the FBI will be investigating.
"It'd be a very dull convention and a very short document." — Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson on a scenario in which all Republican convention attendees agreed with the party platform
US arrests 2,200 in Mexican drug trafficking probe — The Associated Press
Prison system to add random drug tests for guards, officers — Austin American-Statesman
Crude Concerns — The Texas Tribune
Baylor leaving Big 12 could have big impact on Waco economy — Waco Tribune-Herald
Dallas Police Chief David Brown vows support for gays, lesbians — The Dallas Morning News