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The Brief: April 30, 2012

The intensifying ad war in the U.S. Senate race sparked another war within the race on Friday.

Former Dallas mayor and U.S. Senate candidate Tom Leppert gestures during a question at a debate in Austin on January 12, 2012.

The Big Conversation:

The intensifying ad war in the U.S. Senate race sparked another war within the race on Friday.

Conservative Renewal, a Super PAC supporting Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, released an ad on Friday calling Ted Cruz and Tom Leppert "too liberal for Texas." The same day, the Cruz campaign released a radio ad hitting back at Dewhurst for his recent attacks on Cruz's work with a Chinese company.

As the Tribune's Aman Batheja reports, the Leppert campaign said the Dewhurst Super PAC ad — which claims that as mayor Leppert pledged to make Dallas a so-called sanctuary city and supported labor unions — promoted “false statements and deceitful allegations." Leppert called on Time Warner Cable and Comcast to stop airing the ad.

The Leppert campaign also took issue with an upcoming candidate forum in Houston, asking HoustonPBS to remove as moderator Gary Polland, a former Harris County Republican Party chairman who helped found the pro-Dewhurst Super PAC.

Houston Public Media quickly announced that Polland had been removed from the event and that the forum would now be hosted by Houston public media personalities. But before his removal, Polland, who has previously interviewed each Senate candidate and said they would have been treated fairly, defended the ad. “I didn’t write the ad," he said. "I didn’t produce the ad, but the ad is factual."


  • Ron Paul claimed a rare victory this weekend in Louisiana, which held its congressional district caucuses on Saturday. Though the state's March 24 primary — which Rick Santorum won — determined the allocation of 20 of the state's delegates, Satuday's caucuses awarded another batch, of which Paul won 74 percent. "Ron Paul’s victory shows his delegate-attainment strategy is working and demonstrates that the media and Washington pundits are underestimating his influence in the nominating process," John Tate, Paul's national campaign manager, said in a statement. Paul also scored a win over the weekend in Alaska, where one of his supporters was selected as the chairman of the state GOP.
  • It's no secret that Texas, though reliably red, has long served as something of an ATM for national Democrats. And as Politico reports, several high-profile Democrats — including U.S. Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, as well as Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — have already begun mining the state for their 2012 races. "If you’ve got super PACs coming after you, you go anywhere you can in the country where they’ll be glad to help you," McCaskill said.
  • Today is the last day to register to vote for the May 29 primaries. Find out here whether you're already registered, and apply here if you're not.


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