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Campaign Chatter

Big endorsements, little endorsements, new attack websites and other political news of the week.

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U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso, got an endorsement from former President Bill Clinton, and then topped it, announcing an endorsement from President Barack Obama over his three Democratic challengers. Clinton is going to El Paso to make the endorsement in person on April 24. That's an event — they're doing it at the El Paso County Coliseum.

• According to Miriam Martinez, Armando Vera is dropping out of the Republican primary in HD-41. She produced a letter (unsigned) from him to the Hidalgo County GOP saying his doctor had advised him to limit some of his activities. Vera couldn't be reached to confirm all of that, and in any case, it's too late to remove his name from the ballot (that date passed shortly after the filing deadline set by the federal courts during redistricting litigation). Martinez was going to run as a Democrat, but switched parties before the deadline. One of them will face Democrat Bobby Guerra in November.

• Gov. Rick Perry emailed supporters to encourage them to include his new budget compact in the Republican Party platform up for a vote at county conventions this weekend and at the statewide convention in June in Fort Worth (the Democrats meet at the same time in Houston).

• Once more, with feeling: The governor, who said a while ago that he thought David Dewhurst would make a good senator, made it clearer: He's endorsing the lieutenant governor in the crowded GOP race to succeed Kay Bailey Hutchison in the U.S. Senate.

• Perry is weighing in on the hotly contested race between Rep. Wayne Christian and Chris Paddie in HD-9. Rick Perry is for Christian and he'll go to Paddie's hometown of Marshall on Monday to do it in person. Christian also got nods from Attorney General Greg Abbott and Comptroller Susan Combs; Paddie's got the support of several big trade associations and got the endorsement of Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, whose Senate district overlays part of the House district.

That business of statewide officeholders endorsing candidates is going around, perhaps because so many of those officeholders are looking at future bids for office and planning their political Phone-A-Friend programs for those contests.

Abbott endorsed Kelly Hancock of North Richland Hills, who's in a tough SD-9 Republican primary against fellow state Rep. Todd Smith of Euless. Hancock also started up an "Educators for Hancock" group headed by the president of the Birdville ISD board. Hancock was on that board before running for the Legislature. Smith, meanwhile, got an endorsement from the Texas Hospital Association.

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples endorsed Rep. Paul Workman, R-Austin, in his HD-47 reelection bid.

Combs endorsed Rep. James White, R-Hillister, in his HD-19 race against fellow Rep. Mike "Tuffy" Hamilton, R-Mauriceville.

Barry Smitherman says he's got the endorsements of two-thirds of the members of the State Republican Executive Committee in his bid for election to the Texas Railroad Commission, where he's currently serving as an appointee.

• Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, got the endorsement from his local firefighters' association, and another one from Texas Right to Life.

• The Texas Alliance for Life endorsed Dr. Greg Bonnen in the open HD-24 Republican primary.

• State Sen. Steve Ogden, who's not running for reelection, endorsed Rep. Charles Schwertner to succeed him in the SD-5. Schwertner is running against Ben Bius, a former Ogden opponent, in the GOP primary.

• Now there's a website (there's a version of this every week somewhere in politics) that's aimed at Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio. He's got two challengers in the GOP primary, and a group called the Conservative Republicans of Texas is helping them out with a video called "Entitled." That Houston-based group, run by Steven Hotze, put it online:

David Dewhurst's campaign launched to torment Ted Cruz, one of several candidates in that race. Cruz is calling Dewhurst a moderate. Dewhurst is calling Cruz a trial lawyer with Chinese clients.

Ann Witt takes a swat at Rep. Jim Murphy, R-Houston, with, wherein she claims he's in a consulting arrangement that skirts prohibitions against holding a government job while you're in the Legislature.

• Rep. J.M. Lozano, who switched parties and is seeking reelection in HD-43, won an endorsement from the Texas Medical Association's political action committee.

• The Texas Association of Business' PAC endorsed Scott Turner in the open HD-33 seat in Collin and Rockwall counties. His opponent, Jim Pruitt of Rockwall, won endorsements from a long list of Rockwall County officials, a list that in the press release includes District Attorney Kenda Culpepper. That is Pruitt's wife.

• The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund endorsed Pete Gallego of Alpine in the Democratic primary in CD-23; the winner will face U.S. Rep. Francisco "Quico" Canseco, R-San Antonio in November.

• Former state Rep. Chris Turner, D-Arlington, got the Arlington Police Association's endorsement in his bid to return in HD-101, an open seat. 

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