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The Evening Brief: July 30, 2012

Your evening reading: Dewhurst brushes off polling favoring Cruz; former state senator to take helm of state's health agency; Cornyn gibes USDA over "Meatless Mondays"

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New in The Texas Tribune:

•   At Chick-fil-A, Dewhurst Dismisses Unfavorable Poll: "On the eve of the Republican primary runoff, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst bought a chicken sandwich at a Chick-fil-A in Austin and told reporters he was confident he would beat former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz."

•   New HHSC Chief Sees Opportunities in Medicaid, ACA: "The state's incoming Health and Human Services chief said that while Gov. Rick Perry and the Legislature will decide what to do about the Affordable Care Act, he's hopeful the state and federal government will be able to work together to improve Medicaid."

•   On the Records: Senate Runoff Spending Topped $45 Million: All those campaign ads weren't cheap. The Republican race to replace U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has drawn more than $45 million in spending. Outside groups contributed heavily to the final tally.

•   Design Flaw Suspected in Standardized State Tests: "As opposition to high-stakes testing continues to build among parents, educators and policymakers in the state, University of Texas researchers believe they have uncovered a glitch in the design of the state's standardized exams that suggests they are virtually useless at measuring the effects of instruction in the classroom."


•   What a Ted Cruz victory would mean (The Washington Post): "Eighteen months ago, Ted Cruz was a starry-eyed Texas Republican with long-shot hopes of becoming a United States senator. On Tuesday, the former state solicitor general looks headed to an unlikely runoff victory over Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, win that would defy the power of the state’s GOP establishment. A Cruz win would not only be a major rebuke of the well-known (and VERY well financed) Dewhurst, but it would also arguably be the most significant statewide upset of the 2012 cycle to date. (Yes, we’re talking about the same cycle in which a sitting senator was dislodged in Indiana and a little-known state legislator won the GOP Senate nomination in Nebraska.)"

•   Sen. Cornyn celebrates “Meat Monday,” sending message to USDA (The Dallas Morning News): "Republican Sen. John Cornyn joined with Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to celebrate 'Meat Monday' in response to recent uproar over a USDA newsletter calling for a 'meatless Monday.' The senators' offices on Capitol Hill ordered in the goods: barbecue beef brisket, ribs and sausage from Hill Country BBQ restaurant."

•   At 11th hour, David Alameel backs Marc Veasey for Congress (The Dallas Morning News): "In the better late than never category, Dallas dentist and businessman David Alameel Monday will officially endorsed state Rep. Marc Veasey for Congress."

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