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The Brief: Sept. 9, 2010

Ad season's now officially under way, and we've already got a possible legal dustup on our hands.

Congressman Chet Edwards.

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

Ad season's now officially under way, and we've already got a possible legal dustup on our hands.

Republican Bill Flores threatened legal action on Wednesday against U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco, for running an ad laying the blame for thousands of layoffs at Flores' feet. Flores, challenging longtime incumbent Edwards for the 17th Congressional District seat, has called the ad — which claims that an oil company Flores helped run paid millions to its top executives after laying off 3,400 workers — "outright false and defamatory."

Flores demanded that the ad be taken off the air by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, but the Edwards campaign has stood its ground. "Mr. Flores should stop the smoke screens and frivolous lawsuit threats and just give voters the information they deserve — his 1998 and 1999 tax returns that will show whether he personally benefited while 3,000 employees in a merged company he helped create and run were being laid off," read a statement from the Edwards camp, which is claiming that Flores has no grounds for such action.

Flores has released affidavits from former co-workers and a letter from an attorney stating that Flores had nothing to do with the job losses. On Tuesday, Flores spokesman Matt Mackowiak said the campaign's demands would include more than just removing the ads. "Bill's reputation has already been damaged by these false and defamatory claims, and simply pulling the ad at this point is not a sufficient remedy," Mackowiak said.

CULLED:

  • Poll season has officially arrived, too. Following the release of two polls Tuesday that showed the governor's race's statistically tied, a new Public Policy Polling survey released Wednesday showed Gov. Rick Perry leading challenger Bill White 48 to 42. Public Policy made a few waves back in June when it showed the race as tied, but that particular survey was largely viewed as an outlier among a number of others conducted throughout the summer that showed Perry leading by about 8 or 9 points. As for an average of this deluge of polling, look to Pollster, which shows the race — unfortunately, for lovers of the horse race — at a standstill.
  • Responding to recent calls from Democrats for more information from the state comptroller on Texas' budget woes, gubernatorial candidate Bill White said Wednesday that he'd provide monthly updates of the state's financial situation if elected. A spokesman for Gov. Rick Perry, who today will be touring areas of the state hit hard by Tropical Storm Hermine, fired back that White "doesn't have much credibility when talking about budgets."
  • Supporters of a statewide smoking ban are waiting in the wings at the state Legislature, hoping to follow through in 2011 on an effort that died in the 2009 legislative session. Supporters say they're ready to mount another effort but acknowledge that they'll face another tough battle against an opposition composed primarily of conservative free-enterprise groups, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

"[Bill] White may be the poster child for the right candidate running in the wrong cycle."Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling

MUST-READ:

Texas sex offender registry in danger?, Austin American-Statesman

Tomball migrant foe isn't done yet, Houston Chronicle

Report: Texas Enterprise Fund falls short on jobs, Austin American-Statesman

A&M System Examines Professors' Revenue Generation, The Texas Tribune

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