The Big Conversation:
With primary season in full swing, and less than six weeks before the May 29 primary, the big-name endorsements have started to roll in.
One of the biggest endorsements yet came Thursday, when Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the front-runner in the race for U.S. Senate, confirmed that he had received the nod of Gov. Rick Perry. As Perry told a Dallas TV station on Wednesday, "David’s been a loyal supporter of mine, and I, in turn, am a loyal supporter of him and his task to become the next United States senator."
Dewhurst's opponents sought to minimize the endorsement. “No amount of endorsements will change the fact that David Dewhurst is a career politician funded by lobbyists,” said a spokesman for former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, according to the Houston Chronicle
News of the Perry nod came a day after U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, who had long remained on the sidelines in the presidential race, endorsed Mitt Romney. “The Republican primary is over. Mitt Romney will be our nominee, and I will strongly support him in every way that I can,” Cornyn said. “But I think endorsements, frankly, are kind of overrated, so I don’t think its going to affect the outcome of the election.”
Lower-profile races have attracted state leaders' attention, too. On Thursday, Perry endorsed state Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center. And the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that state Rep. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, running for Texas Senate, has won the backing of Attorney General Greg Abbott.
And while the endorsement race has remained quieter on the Democratic side, the campaign of U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso, announced Monday that the congressman had received the official support of one particularly high-ranking Democrat: President Barack Obama. The news came a week after Reyes won the support of former President Bill Clinton.
- The State Board of Education on Thursday tentatively approved more rigorous math standards for Texas public school students. Among the 100-plus amendments proposed by the board: a move to encourage students in kindergarten through fifth grade to learn basic math without the help of calculators. The preliminary approval came shortly after Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott encouraged the board to adopt standards that exceeded national requirements.
- A federal judge on Thursday heard arguments over whether the state should allow Planned Parenthood to continue participating in the Medicaid Women's Health Program, a health services plan from which the group was excluded by state Republicans. The judge, Lee Yeakel, did not rule on Planned Parenthood's request Thursday but said he would do so by April 30.
- An ex-rival of Tom Leppert has accused the former Dallas mayor of abandoning his gay constituents and the city of Dallas during his U.S. Senate run. “After being in office and reaching out to the gay community, he then basically turned his back and slapped us in the face because it was politically expedient to do so,” Ed Oakley, a former City Council member who lost the 2007 mayoral race to Leppert, tells The Dallas Morning News. Oakley, who is gay, also hit Leppert for previously saying that he wasn't interested in higher office and then leaving his post to run for Senate.
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