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The Evening Brief: June 1, 2012

Your evening reading: State Rep. Ken Legler passes away; State backs DNA testing for Skinner; CD 16 primary winner O'Rourke says campaign wasn't about marijuana.

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New in the Texas Tribune:

  • State Rep. Ken Legler Passes Away: Legler was first elected to represent part of Harris County in 2008. He announced in March that he wouldn't seek re-election. Legler's survivors include his wife, Barbara, three children and one grandchild. Lawmakers began posting condolences online Friday afternoon. In a tweet, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst wrote, ‘My condolences and prayers go out to the family and friends of Ken Legler.’”
  • State Backs DNA Testing for Hank Skinner: Reversing its decade-long objection to testing that death row inmate Hank Skinner says could prove his innocence, the Texas attorney general's office on Friday filed an advisory with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals seeking to test DNA in the case. 
  • Primary a Mixed Bag for Public Education Candidates: Candidates with strong records on public education defeated Republican incumbents Marva Beck of Centerville and Wayne Christian of Center, who both counted among their supporters the budget-slashing right wing of the GOP. But it’s impossible to say education issues alone are what swayed voters in their direction.
  • TribLive: Branch and TMF on Straus and the Primaries: At this morning's TribLive conversation, state Reps. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, and Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, discussed whether Tuesday's primaries were a referendum on Speaker of the House Joe Straus.


  • Beto O'Rourke: It Wasn't About Drugs (Mother Jones)“As one political consultant told the El Paso Times, "Usually you have to have a gay sex scandal or a federal corruption indictment for an incumbent to lose." Observers, myself included, framed the race in part as a referendum on the Drug War, because of his and Reyes' contrasting viewpoints on federal policy. But in an interview on Wednesday, O'Rourke sought to define the victory in more conventional terms.”
  • Gallego hires new campaign chief for runoff (San Antonio Express-News) “Facing a runoff election following a second-place finish in the Democratic primary, state Rep. Pete Gallego switched campaign managers for a third time in his bid to win the Democratic nomination for a San Antonio-based congressional seat.”

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