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The Brief: Oct. 13, 2010

Gov. Rick Perry's biggest threat might not be who you think.

Gov. Rick Perry at a Texas Association of Broadcasters conference in Austin on Aug. 12, 2010

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

 Gov. Rick Perry's biggest threat might not be who you think.

At least, that's what a spokeswoman for former gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina would have you believe. The Texas Independent reports that Penny Langford Freeman, Medina's former campaign manager, echoed claims that Perry has ducked debates not to avoid Democrat Bill White, but to keep Libertarian Kathie Glass from lighting a third-party fire that could drain votes from the governor.

"There’s two Democrats in this race: That’s Bill White and Rick Perry,” Langford Freeman said. “The only conservative is Kathie Glass, and he doesn’t want people to know that.”

In the Republican primary, Medina drew attention and inched up in polls after two well-received debate performances, which Glass supporters think she could replicate.

Langford Freeman's comments came a day after Glass, in Humble, tried to confront Perry in person for skipping on debates. "If you can't stand up to Kathie Glass, how can you stand up to the federal government?" she shouted while charging at the governor, who quickly slipped out of the room after delivering a speech and briefly shaking Glass' hand, as reported by the Houston Chronicle.

"That is not leadership — to run away like a scared little boy from someone who just wants to engage you in debate," Glass said. "He is afraid to debate because he knows he will not show well," she added.

On Tuesday, news also surfaced of humorist and former gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman's plans to endorse Glass. "I'm voting for the outsider," he told the Tribune, adding that "Kathie will be my human endorsement," explaining away his announcement in July that he'd be endorsing a dog.

CULLED:

  • As for Bill White, he faces a mountain of evidence and news stories showing that with Election Day less than three weeks away, he's close but not close enough, in a race that the Houston Chronicle today describes as "Bill White pounding away at incumbent Rick Perry, who shakes off the charges like a horse shuddering away a fly." The latest: more controversy over Perry's dealings with the Emerging Technology Fund. Meanwhile, the White campaign is touting an internal poll showing the race still close, with White 5 points behind Perry. And speaking of polls, the Trib's Ross Ramsey today has a look at what's up with polling this season — and what "likely voters" means anyway. 
  • On a more chilling note, the severed head of the Mexican investigator probing the alleged murder of U.S. citizen David Hartley on Falcon Lake was delivered in a suitcase to the Mexican military on Tuesday. The search for Hartley's body is expected to continue, but officials say it looks unlikely that they'll find anything.
  • The hearing for Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan was delayed on Tuesday to allow the judge to review new information the defense said it has presented to the military.
  • It's Profile a House Race Day, apparently, with looks at Texas House districts 47 (Democrat Valinda Bolton vs. Republican Paul Workman), 52 (Republican Larry Gonzales vs. Democrat Diana Maldonado), 45 (Republican Jason Isaac vs. Democrat Patrick Rose) and, in the U.S. House, District 12 (Republican Kay Granger vs. Democrat Tracey Smith).

"I mourn the passing of the Democratic Party. They deserve to get beat and get beat bad. This is the harvest that Obama has reaped. It’s a government by ego. I sense that he doesn’t love America. I sense that he loves Obama."Kinky Friedman to the Trib's Reeve Hamilton

MUST-READ:

Don't forget about the Trib's interviews with the gubernatorial candidates this Friday. Send in your burning questions.

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