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The Brief: June 14, 2010

It's summertime in Texas, and things only got warmer this weekend in Dallas as the state Republican party whipped up clouds of hot, thick anti-Washington fervor.

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THE BIG CONVERSATION:

It's summertime in Texas, and things only got warmer this weekend in Dallas as the state Republican Party whipped up clouds of hot, thick anti-Washington fervor.

And even that may be downplaying how high the mercury climbed, given that the two-day state party convention featured a high-profile reconciliation, a major ouster, an attempted ouster and a fight over immigration. (The Tribune, by the way, was there every step of the way.)

The convention kicked off Friday with Gov. Rick Perry finally joining hands with his former primary rival, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. The two played the part of the scorned-but-now-reconciled political coupling convincingly, but the meet-up was not without its awkward moments. (Some more awkwardness for the governor: Many attendees weren't too keen on the idea of a President Perry, the Austin American-Statesman reports.)

As expected, opponents of House Speaker Joe Straus attempted an unsuccessful coup, circulating a four-page rebuke against the speaker, on whom some socially conservative elements of the party had pinned much of their discontent. A fight over the party platform's treatment of immigration — an issue that continues to roil the party as it looks to fold in Hispanic membership — similarly drew heated debate but largely went down as expected, with the party voting in support of an Arizona-style immigration policy.

But the real drama came Saturday, when, in a surprising and unprecedented turnaround, sitting chairman Cathie Adams lost her bid for re-election. The Trib's Morgan Smith breaks down how Steve Munisteri swooped in and claimed victory:

Neither Adams nor Munisteri came out of the district vote with a majority — a third candidate, Tom Mechler, won six of the districts, leaving Munisteri with 13 and Adams with 12. So there was a second vote, this time a runoff between Munisteri and Adams (Mechler withdrew and threw his support behind Munisteri). That time, Munisteri trounced Adams, 22 to 9. After that, it was expected that Adams would yield the chairmanship peacefully. But instead, when the nominations committee, after much delay, gave the nod to Munisteri, Adams was nominated from the floor. After the historic floor fight concluded, Munisteri was the clear victor, with 59 percent of the vote.

Got that?

Check out the liveblog for a more detailed account of the weekend's events. (You also probably don't want to miss the Trib's Ben Philpott finding the "most awesome campaign swag ever.")

CULLED:

  • Fresh off his joint appearance with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in Dallas on Friday, Gov. Rick Perry is headed to … China? Perry, with a delegation and Texas swagger in tow, will attend the Shanghai Expo, hoping to bolster China-Texas business ties. 
  • Republicans weren't the only ones who had fun this weekend. The Libertarian Party of Texas rallied in Austin on Saturday, selecting Kathie Glass as its gubernatorial nominee. The party hopes to capitalize on the anti-establishment sentiment taking hold of much of the nation: "A chance like this does not come around very often and may not come around again in our lifetimes," Glass told the audience, which also listened to keynote speaker Kinky Friedman compare the Tea Party to Barbara Jordan and offer up advice from friend Willie Nelson on horses and … well, see for yourself.
  • State Rep. Dan Branch has said that the University of Texas, Texas Tech University and Texas A&M University are not likely to move on any college-conference shuffling until after a Wednesday legislative hearing. "I'm confident the regents will make sound decisions," Branch, chairman of the House Higher Education Committee, told the Austin American-Statesman. But signs still point to a UT and Tech move to the Pacific-10 and A&M heading for the Southeastern Conference.

"So you're a feminist. Isn't that cute." — A bumper sticker on display at the Republican convention

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