The Big Conversation:
His opponents may be preparing to campaign harder in Texas, but Mitt Romney appears to be winning the state's endorsement race.
The Tribune's Jay Root reported late Wednesday that Romney, the race's front-runner, has received the support of three Republican congressmen from Texas: Pete Sessions of Dallas, John Carter of Georgetown and Mac Thornberry of Clarendon. The endorsements come a week after Romney received the nod of former President George H.W. Bush in Houston. House Speaker Joe Straus also announced his support for Romney in February.
Sessions, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Republicans “must unite behind the one candidate who can lead our party, win in November, and put in place conservative pro-growth policies to restart our economy.”
Romney said in a press release that the three congressmen, whose support the Romney campaign will officially announce today, “come from a long line of great conservative leaders.”
The endorsements also come a day after the Tribune reported that Rick Santorum and Ron Paul have already begun working to flood Texas' state convention in June with their supporters. Steve Munisteri, the chairman of the Texas Republican Party, said he'd seen "no sign" of Romney forces making plays yet for delegates — though a Romney spokesman insisted that the candidate has started organizing for the state's May 29 primary.
Santorum has staked continuing his candidacy in large part on Texas, which awards 155 delegates. But as Politico notes, an endorsement for Romney like Sessions' only makes it harder for Santorum, who already faced an uphill battle: "His endorsement may be less significant for the votes it'll move than for its value as a sign to other Republicans that even the chairman of the NRCC feels it's safe to choose a side in the presidential primary."
- U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that the Justice Department will comply with a Texas federal judge's request for a letter outlining courts' authority to strike down laws passed by Congress, The Associated Press reports. Judge Jerry Smith of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, hearing a case related to a provision of federal health care reform, requested the letter in response to President Barack Obama's assertion on Monday that the Supreme Court overturning the law would be "unprecedented." "We respect the decisions made by the courts since Marbury v. Madison," Holder said, adding, "The courts are also fairly deferential when it comes to overturning statutes that the newly elected representatives of the people, Congress, pass."
- While it reduces its spending and considers shifting its resources to congressional races, pro-Ron Paul Super PAC Endorse Liberty will continue funding the congressman's campaign as he works to amass delegates in late-voting states, Politico reports. “We are still putting 100 percent of our resources behind Ron Paul," said Jeffrey Harmon, the group’s co-founder. "We are running tests around the country and planning to scale what works in the later states, giving Ron Paul momentum going into the convention." The news comes a day after NBC News reported that Paul, looking to boost his campaign after a sluggish couple of months, plans to make a play for Texas, where he has made a statewide TV ad buy for next week, and California, which votes June 5.
- Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday will tour the areas of North Texas that were devastated by a dozen tornadoes that ripped through the region on Tuesday afternoon, damaging more than 600 homes and leaving more than 150 residents in shelters. “We’re thankful that there’s been no reported loss of life at this point in time,” Perry told reporters at the Capitol on Wednesday. “We know there are a lot of North Texans who are digging out of rubble and seeing life possessions lost to these storms.”
“It’s a drop in the bucket.” — Lisa Dawn-Fisher, the Texas Education Agency’s chief school finance officer, to the Houston Chronicle on the millions of dollars the state's public schools netted from Friday's record Mega Millions drawing
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