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The Brief: Aug. 23, 2012

Texas, the biggest prize for Republicans on the electoral map, won't be getting a whole lot of love at the GOP convention this year.

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The Big Conversation:

Texas, the biggest prize for Republicans on the electoral map, won't be getting a whole lot of love at the GOP convention this year.

As the Tribune's Jay Root writes today, while U.S. Senate candidate and rising star Ted Cruz scored a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention, which begins Monday in Tampa, Fla., neither of the two onetime presidential candidate from Texas, Rick Perry and Ron Paul, will play much of an active role during the festivities. 

Texas' delegation will also be housed 30 miles from the convention venue, a fact state GOP chairman Steve Munisteri has called "demoralizing."

A year ago, as Perry kicked off his presidential run to much attention and Republican excitement, such a convention scenario might have seemed unimaginable. But months after a string of infamous gaffes helped knock him out of the race, Perry now only gets to serve as chairman of the state's delegation. 

"The governor will be spending a lot of time with the Texas delegation at a number of events," said Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan. "The goal there is to energize and encourage our Republican grassroots who have been instrumental to previous presidential campaigns in terms of volunteers and financing. Having an energized Texas Republican Party is good for the Romney-Ryan ticket and Republicans up and down the ballot."

The governor is also scheduled to address Florida's Leon County Republican Party on Monday and appear before several other state delegations.

Meanwhile, Paul, who was also passed over for a speaking slot or major role, is likely to receive a video tribute at the convention. His son, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, has also been awarded a prime speaking role. But the elder Paul is still heading to Florida to attend a rally he's holding at the University of South Florida the day before the convention begins.

Attorney General Greg Abbott, Comptroller Susan Combs and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson are among the members of the Texas delegation set to attend. U.S. Rep. Francisco "Quico" Canseco, R-San Antonio, has also been scheduled to speak on Monday.

Culled:

  • The Lubbock County judge who on Wednesday made headlines for suggesting that the re-election of President Barack Obama would incite public unrest and, possibly, civil war, has a history of stirring up controversy. In 2009, the judge, Tom Head, hung several posters outside his office that some decried as racist, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
  • U.S. Senate candidates Ted Cruz and Paul Sadler have agreed to participate in a televised debate on Oct. 2 in Dallas hosted by ABC affiliate WFAA. The campaigns said additional debates may be held before the November election.
  • As parts of Harris County on Wednesday began aerial insecticide spraying to combat a West Nile virus outbreak, federal officials said the risk of contracting the virus would likely linger for six weeks. In deciding to spray insecticide by plane, Harris County has followed the lead of Dallas County, which has experienced the worst outbreak of the virus in the nation.

"He's going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N., and what is going to happen when that happens? I'm thinking the worst. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. And we're not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations, we're talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy." — Lubbock County Judge Tom Head to Fox 34 News on President Obama

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