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The Brief: Aug. 29, 2012

Texans briefly commanded the attention of the Republican National Convention on Tuesday, but a burst of political news back home threatened to upstage them.

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The Big Conversation:

Texans briefly commanded the attention of the Republican National Convention on Tuesday, but a burst of political news back home threatened to upstage them.

Though the state looked to play a minor role in the GOP festivities this year, Texans on Tuesday pushed their way into the middle of the convention as the event's first full day unfolded.

Ron Paul supporters, upset about a rule change that would make it more difficult for insurgent candidates like Paul to collect delegates, loudly protested on the convention floor, exposing a party rift that had emerged earlier in the week

Hours later, U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz, the GOP's newest wunderkind, made a direct pitch to Hispanics in his prime-time speech, accusing President Barack Obama of playing racial politics and painting his surprise primary victory as a "great awakening."

But back in Texas, convention fireworks competed for attention with a flurry of major political news. After speaking to the Texas delegation at the GOP convention in Florida, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst announced that he would seek re-election in 2014, as the Tribune's Jay Root reported. The surprise announcement added another layer of interest to a race in which three GOP officials — Comptroller Susan Combs, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples — have expressed interest. 

Later in the day, a federal court in Washington, D.C., struck down Texas' redistricting maps, saying state lawmakers violated the federal Voting Rights Act when they drew new congressional, state Senate and state House districts. The ruling drew a multitude of responses from pleased Democrats and angry Republicans, one of whom, Attorney General Greg Abbott, said the state would appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. Such a case would put Texas at the center of a national debate over voting rights.


  • After David Dewhurst's announcement on Tuesday that he would run again for lieutenant governor, two of his likely rivals appeared undeterred. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who had previously said he would vie for the job whether Dewhurst sought re-election or not, seemed doubtful that the lite guv actually intended to run. "I'm not absolutely sure that he's absolutely sure," Patterson said. Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples also said he was still eyeing the post.
  • Dewhurst, meanwhile, brandished his conservative credentials on Tuesday, telling Texas delegates in Florida that he would push school voucher and "parental choice" bills in the next legislative session. "I personally don’t have any problem with a program in which children’s parents receive a payment from the state and are able to select which school that they go to," Dewhurst said.
  • The El Paso Times reports that Barack Obama will visit Fort Bliss on Friday, marking his third trip to El Paso as president. A White House official said Obama would "speak to troops and have a round-table with service members and military families."

"If I was named 'Rafael Cruz,' I would be proud to use that name. The guy has denied his own Hispanic heritage, if he is a Hispanic."Gilberto Hinojosa, the chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, to WFAA on Ted Cruz


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