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The Brief: Aug. 20, 2012

For the latest clues on whether Rick Perry plans to run for governor again, follow the money.

Rick and Anita Perry leaving the Lutheran Church of Hope in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 1, 2012.

The Big Conversation:

For the latest clues on whether Rick Perry plans to run for governor again, follow the money.

As The Associated Press reported over the weekend, Perry has raised $1.9 million since the beginning of the year, renewing speculation about his political future.

The $1.9 million haul, collected through June, brings Perry's political committee's cash on hand to a hefty $3.3 million — more, the AP notes, than the governor had at the same time in 2008, two years before he won an unprecedented third term as governor.

"He must be raising a lot of money for something," Scott Caven, who has previously served as Perry's campaign finance director, told the AP.

The new fundraising numbers may mark a return to form for Perry, who dropped his presidential bid in January after a string of gaffes engulfed his candidacy. The governor, a famously prolific fundraiser, has said he hasn't made any decisions about his political future but that he hasn't ruled out running again for governor, or even president. 

Still, if Perry indeed plans on running for re-election (and isn't just bluffing to preserve his power, as some suspect), he may have to contend with another top state official: Attorney General Greg Abbott, long seen as a likely 2014 gubernatorial candidate. Abbott, also one of the state's top fundraisers, collected $3 million through June, bringing his total to $14.5 million, according to the AP.

Culled:

  • In an appearance on Meet the Press on Sunday, Ted Cruz said he was "thrilled" with Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate. "I think the biggest Ryan effect is that this race is going to focus on issues," Cruz said, adding, "If this presidential race focuses on issues — if it focuses on the economy, on President Obama's abysmal economic record — Republicans win. If it's a battle of personalities, Republicans will lose."
  • University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa on Friday announced long-awaited plans to establish a medical school in South Texas. Under the plan, the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio's Regional Academic Health Center in Edinburg would be converted into medical school that would graduate its first students in 2018. "Nationally, more than 70 percent of physicians typically end up practicing medicine in the same region where they graduated," UT System Board of Regents Chairman Gene Powell said in a statement. "We must do everything possible to ensure we provide excellent medical education opportunities to our students in South Texas."
  • With the state's school finance trial set to begin this fall, two districts — one outside Amarillo, and the other in the Houston area — illustrate the pitfalls of using per-student spending to determine how well districts spend money. The Tribune's Morgan Smith reports.

"I would keep the powder dry on Ron Paul. I think he is going to have a great week." — Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, on concerns that Ron Paul supporters will disrupt the party's national convention

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