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The Brief: July 8, 2010

Tensions cooled a bit Wednesday in the summer's juiciest on-again off-again political fling.

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THE BIG CONVERSATION:

Tensions cooled a bit Wednesday in the summer's juiciest on-again off-again political fling.

But things are still a little awkward.

On Wednesday, the Texas Democratic Party dropped a legal push to keep the Green Party off the ballot in November — a suit that Democrats brought in June after it was revealed that the Greens had received funding for a petition drive from corporate contributors with Republican ties possibly looking to drain votes from Democrats.

Democrats said Wednesday they were withdrawing the state Supreme Court challenge to avoid limiting political dialogue in the state but that they would continue fighting at a lower-court level to unearth the identity of those who bankrolled the petition drive. "Although the motion we filed today means it is almost certain that Green Party candidates will remain on the ballot in 2010, the facts demonstrate that the participants in this petition-gathering scam acted improperly, and we continue to seek penalties allowed by law,” said state Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie, the San Antonio Express-News reports.

The remaining suit will test both Democrats, who now stand to lose votes to Green Party candidates in November, and Republicans, whom further investigation could implicate in orchestrating an organized effort to promote the Greens. But with some challenging the conventional wisdom that Green candidates could throw an election the Republicans' way, Democrats may stand to benefit most from a lengthy legal battle that keeps possible Republican-instigated scandal in the news cycle.

CULLED:

  • It might be the last venue at which you'd expect to see political fireworks, but a Texas Farm Bureau meeting today in San Marcos is set to draw both Gov. Rick Perry and Bill White in the candidates' first appearance at the same venue. White is scheduled to speak at 11 a.m. and Perry at 1 p.m.
  • Among colleagues rarely commended for their subtlety and nuance, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn may have defied the odds Wednesday.
  • The House Committee on Licensing and Regulation will meet this morning to address legalized gambling. The Tribune's Ross Ramsey has a preview. Says one state rep: "Let 'em vent. Just let them talk. Pros, cons, in-betweens, fors and againsts, independents … just bring it on."

“Deb Shafto, the Green candidate for governor, looks forward to debating Rick Perry, Kathie Glass of the Libertarian Party and whoever the Democratic sacrificial lamb is.” — Green Party lawyer David Rogers on the Democratic Party's withdrawal of its Supreme Court suit against the Greens

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Tar balls reveal the biological legacy of Gulf's early lifeHouston Chronicle

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HillCo Drops Lawsuit Against Rival Lobby Shop — The Texas Tribune

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