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The Evening Brief: Feb. 17, 2012

Your evening reading: Perry to make first appearance on behalf of Gingrich; Texas Education Agency delays STAAR's 15 percent rule; longtime Austin advisers re-joining Perry's inner circle

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  • Rick Perry will go to Arizona for Gingrich (The Dallas Morning News): "Rick Perry's going to another GOP presidential debate, but this time for Newt Gingrich. … Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan told Fox News today that Perry will step out for the first time on behalf of Gingrich. He'll be in Mesa at next Wednesday's CNN debate among the four remaining GOP candidates. It's likely he'll be doing spin room duties or otherwise standing in to praise Gingrich, who is now trailing behind Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in most polls."
  • Longtime advisers step back into Perry’s inner circle (Austin American-Statesman): "Some longtime advisers are re-joining Gov. Rick Perry’s inner circle as the next phase of his governorship and political career take shape. A team of advisers including Deirdre Delisi, Ray Sullivan and Eric Bearse is working for Perry outside the realm of the governor’s office, helping him shape his message and policy focus moving toward the fall elections and the 2013 legislative session. Delisi and Sullivan are former Perry chiefs of staff, while Bearse was Perry’s communications director for several years. Other longtime advisers are also playing informal roles."
  • El Paso Mayor John Cook wins recall appeal (El Paso Times): "Mayor John Cook has won the appeal in his lawsuit against a group seeking to recall him. The Eighth Court of Appeals on Friday unanimously ruled that the recall group had violated the law in its petition drive. The court ordered Municipal Clerk Richarda Momsen to decertify the recall petitions and ruled that no recall election using them can be held."
  • Sen. Cornyn Blocks Obama Nominee Over Taiwan Fighters (The Wall Street Journal): "As Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping wraps up a visit to the U.S., Sen. John Cornyn is renewing a push to enable the sale of new F-16 fighters to Taiwan, regarded as a renegade province by Beijing. Last fall, the Obama administration informed Congress of plans to upgrade Taiwan’s existing fleet of F-16 fighters, instead of selling brand-new models. That move angered some lawmakers, and Sen. Cornyn responded Friday by placing a hold on the nomination of Mark Lippert to be assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Security affairs."

New in The Texas Tribune:

  • Texans Leave the Voting to a Small Minority: "Voting is important. It's just not very popular in Texas. And with the redistricting fights delaying the state primary, turnout could be lower than normal. Recent examples of underwhelming turnout in high-profile primaries include the 2010 governor's race, which featured Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison, and the 2008 presidential race."

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