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The Brief: June 24, 2010

There's restrained optimism in the air today, and that can only mean one thing.

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THE BIG CONVERSATION:

There's restrained optimism in the air today, and that can only mean one thing: Democrats are meeting somewhere in the state, and they're energized.

Kicking off their state convention today in Corpus Christi, Texas Democrats are riding high off a rare episode of political fortune for the party, which spent the last week relishing the Republican hand-wringing over U.S. Rep. Joe Barton's mountain of apologies, beating up a Republican state representative for possible ethics violations and celebrating a poll that showed their guy, Bill White, neck and neck with Gov. Rick Perry in the governor's race.

That's not to say that the party, which hasn't won a statewide race in more than 15 years, is inflating its hopes for the fall — especially with anti-Washington, and largely anti-Democratic, sentiment running high. White, despite the encouraging poll numbers and a new pet name for rival Perry that seems to have stuck, has a long fight ahead of him until November, the Tribune's Ben Philpott notes today. And even in a fortuitous week for the party, it's fighting a legal battle against the Green Party and taking heat as one of its own faces Medicaid fraud charges.

Like the Republicans two weeks before them, they'll spend the weekend electing a party chairman, approving a platform and rallying around party leaders and candidates. The proceedings might lack the rancor that largely defined the Republican convention, but Democrats say they're hopeful — a much-improved sentiment, the San Antonio Express-News notes, over the last time the party found itself hanging its hopes on White.

CULLED:

  • Just kidding about outgoing state Sen. Kip Averitt re-entering the race that he left earlier this year after resigning from the Senate. But Averitt's concerns over Brian Birdwell, who won Tuesday's special election, have not been allayed.
  • Contracts, airports and a city council. Thrilling. But it all amounts to perhaps the "most divisive issue to hit the Dallas City Council in years," The Dallas Morning News notes, and the city's mayor stopped debate on the matter Wednesday.
  • In the yo-yo of good news/bad news from the Gulf, we're at bad today with word of robots bumping caps.

"Woodrow won't let the tail wag this dog. Woodrow is authentic, doesn't overcomplicate things and has good instincts." — Kinky Friedman on, yes, a dog, whom, yep, he plans to endorse in the governor's race next month

MUST-READ:

Deep-water drilling ban to be revisedHouston Chronicle

State Board of Education Considers Renting to Charters — The Texas Tribune

Judge who overturned drilling delay could have conflictBeaumont Enterprise

White pitches college-for-all education planEl Paso Times

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