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The Brief: Nov. 3, 2010

Texas Republicans will long remember the 2nd of November.

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THE BIG CONVERSATION:

Texas Republicans will long remember the 2nd of November.

It'll be recalled as the day that handed the party its fourth sweep of statewide offices in a row, including a widely expected win for Gov. Rick Perry, whose national star looks sure to rise as he sets out on a national book tour. Perry ended up easily besting Democratic challenger Bill White, 55 percent to 42 percent, quieting doubts about his political fortitude in Texas.

But the day will mainly be remembered for what wasn't expected: a bloodbath in the Texas House that defied predictions, giving Republicans their biggest advantage — 99-51 — since Reconstruction. The sweep claimed not only vulnerable House Democrats but many Democrats presumed safe, including, in one of the night's biggest stunners, House Democratic Leader Jim Dunnam of Waco.

And the Republican tide didn't stop in the Texas House. Chet Edwards, D-Waco, lost his seat in the U.S. House, as polls generally predicted, and so did U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio. Democrats also unexpectedly lost longtime U.S. Rep. Solomon Ortiz of Corpus Christi, whose son, Solomon Ortiz Jr., was also defeated in an upset in the Texas House. And in one of the state's most shocking local races, a Democratic candidate for Harris County commissioner with a 40-1 fundraising edge lost to her Republican opponent.

Republicans also swept the state's highest courts and the State Board of Education, which could still likely simmer down next year with the addition of a number of more moderate Republicans.

Texans were also voting Tuesday on a number of propositions in their cities. Houstonites voted to nix red-light cameras. Dallas voted to expand beer and wine sales. And in an effort pushed by religious groups, voters in El Paso elected to eliminate health benefits for gay and unmarried partners of city employees.

For complete election results, look no further than Election Wire on the Tribune's home page.

CULLED:

  • With at least a dozen of his supporters wiped out of office last night, House Speaker Joe Straus may look even more vulnerable to a speaker's race challenge from an emboldened conservative wing of the House. But Straus says he's got the support.
  • If Democrats, are looking for a silver lining in Tuesday's results, they're pretty much out of luck — though there's this in Dallas County, which the state and national GOP tide seemed to have bypassed: Democratic incumbents largely dominated, and Democrats will have a majority on the Dallas County court for the first time in 30 years. 
  • Wondering what happened to our site last night? Us too. Though we think you might be partly to blame (in a good way!).

"Our citizens are tired of big government killing jobs with their do-gooder policies. In short, the people are fed up!” — Gov Rick Perry, during his victory speech on Tuesday night

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