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The Brief: Nov. 19, 2010

The two challengers in the speaker's race made it clear Thursday: They're playing for the same team.

State Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa and state Rep. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney


The two challengers in the speaker's race made it clear Thursday: They're playing for the same team.

Appearing together at an event held by the Tarrant County Republican Assembly and promoted by local Tea Party groups, the two conservative Republicans, Warren Chisum of Pampa and Ken Paxton on McKinney, said they were united in their effort to defeat Straus, a moderate, for the House's top post, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

"This is not between me and Ken Paxton," Chisum said. "It's about unseating Joe Straus." 

Citing Straus' claim of support from more than enough members to secure his re-election, Chisum and Paxton urged activists in attendance to pressure Straus-supporting House members — by way of phone calls, in-person appeals and threats of fielding primary challengers — to defect.

"It is absolutely important that we turn those votes around," Chisum said. "It is not easy. Those people are entrenched." 

The joint appearance — one of the first for the two as speaker candidates — came a day after The Dallas Morning News reported on anti-Semitic e-mails sent by conservative activists targeting Straus, who is Jewish. Both Chisum and Paxton have repudiated the e-mails.

And in response to worries over vote-splitting among conservatives, the two insisted that their separate candidacies actually present an advantage against Straus supporters. "Whatever it is, if they make the attack," Paxton said,  "it's on both of us, so it's harder to make it stick."

  • Tom DeLay's defense team rested Thursday in the money-laundering trial of the former U.S. House majority leader, who didn't take the stand. Closing arguments will begin Monday.
  • Gov. Rick Perry said in an interview with MSNBC on Thursday that he'd consider sending U.S. troops into Mexico to help fight drug cartel violence. "Obviously, Mexico has to approve any type of assistance that we can give them. But the fact of the matter is these [drug gangs] are people who are highly motivated for money, they are vicious, they are armed to the teeth. And I want to see them defeated," he said.
  • Rep. Charlie Gonzalez of San Antonio has been elected to lead Latino Democrats in the U.S. House next year

"There’s certainly no love lost between those two men." — University of Texas professor Bruce Buchanan on the longtime rivalry between Gov. Rick Perry and his gubernatorial predecessor, George W. Bush. Rifts between the two have again widened since both embarked on national book tours, as the Tribune's Elise Hu reports today.


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