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The Brief: Oct. 14, 2010

It might be too late in the game for a possible scandal to take hold, but that's not stopping Bill White from trying.

Republican Rick Perry and Democrat Bill White

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

It might be too late in the game for a possible scandal to take hold, but that's not stopping Bill White from trying.

On Wednesday, White, in a number of press conferences, again called for investigations into Gov. Rick Perry's approval in August of $4.5 million from the state's technology fund to a start-up firm run by one of his donors, David G. Nance. The donor bypassed a regional screening board during the approval process.

White's campaign has called the controversy a "career-ending … cover-up" and a "bombshell." The campaign released a video Wednesday targeting Perry for saying there was "distance" between his office and the grant award.

The Dallas Morning News reports today that Perry acknowledged Wednesday that he has a "nice, close personal relationship" with Nance, but the governor continued to defend the legality of the award. "I'm focused on the result of saving Texans' lives, not splitting hairs about whether or not this group of people, or this group of people, made the final decision on was this good technology," he said, according to the Morning News. He also said he would, if the Legislature deemed it necessary, be open to reforms in the technology fund award process.

White has deemed the controversy an ethics failure on Perry's part and called the Morning News' report the "most blatant details yet of the use of public funds for the private enrichment of Rick Perry's friends."

The Austin American-Statesman also reports today that a former technology fund official was working closely with Nance to pitch a business proposal.

But will White gain traction with any of this? Unlikely, Rice University political scientist Mark Jones tells the Houston Chronicle. "Likely voters in off-year elections already discovered these aspects of Rick Perry," he says, adding, "Time is running out for the type of game-changing event [White] needs to dramatically alter the dynamics of the gubernatorial campaign."

CULLED:

  • The speaker's race got a little more interesting Wednesday, with state Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, officially announcing his candidacy and state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, who announced his candidacy in June, throwing his support behind Chisum. The two Republicans have targeted current Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, for making concessions to House Democrats.
  • Former President Bill Clinton will stump tonight in San Antonio for Democratic U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodrigeuz, who's in a tough battle for re-election against Republican Francisco “Quico” Canseco.

"No. No, I will not go to Mexico."Tiffany Hartley on an invitation to visit Mexico to file a formal complaint regarding her husband's alleged murder on Falcon Lake. Hartley said she would fear for her safety is she visited Mexico.

MUST-READ:

The start of early voting stars is four days away. Election Day: 19 days.

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