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The Brief: Oct. 17, 2012

Though the presidential debate dominated Tuesday's headlines, the focus in Texas turned briefly to 2014.

Gov. Rick Perry in his Capitol office on Feb. 21, 2012.

The Big Conversation:

Though the presidential debate dominated Tuesday's headlines, the focus in Texas turned briefly to 2014.

Hours before President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney faced off in Hempstead, N.Y., Ken Armbrister, Rick Perry’s legislative director, told a conference at the University of Texas at Austin that the governor had told him he had decided to seek re-election in 2014.

The statement marked one of the most definitive signals yet of Perry's intentions for 2014. Though some observers have accused him of bluffing in order to fend off the lame duck label, the governor continues to publicly express interest in seeking an unprecedented fourth term. Speculation abounded last week, in fact, that he was trying to make nice with newspaper editorial boards, which he had previously shunned, in advance of another gubernatorial run.

Still, the governor's office denied that Perry had made a decision.

"He has said multiple times he will make [his decision] after the legislative session," said spokeswoman Catherine Frazier. "That door is open. He wants to keep doing what he’s doing. But he’s not going to make an official decision now."

Perry himself even chimed in Tuesday, saying at an event in Coppell that Armbrister "hears what he wants to hear."

"Remember one of the things about Ken Armbrister: He's been in the Legislature since 1983, and from time to time his hearing gets impaired," Perry said, according to WFAA-TV.

As he has in the past, the governor said he wouldn't announce his decision until after next year's legislative session. 


  • State Sen. Mario Gallegos, D-Houston, died Tuesday at the age of 62 due to complications related to a 2007 liver transplant. Gallegos, who was elected to the House in 1990 and then to the Senate in 1994, was the first Hispanic state senator from Harris County. "He was a friend and colleague to all the Senators and myself, and he will be dearly missed by all of us," Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said in a statement. According to Texas Monthly's Paul Burka, Gallegos had been telling friends that he wanted state Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, to succeed him in the Senate.
  • A spat over a mailer depicting the face of Jesus, a baby and two men kissing each other has kicked up controversy in the already hot San Antonio-based congressional race between incumbent Republican Francisco "Quico" Canseco and state Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine. As the Tribune's Jay Root reports, Canseco on Tuesday stood by the mailer, which his campaign sent out to draw a contrast with Gallego over abortion and gay rights. Gallego, who supports civil unions but said he has "never been in favor of gay marriage," called the mailer deeply offensive. "I have never seen a picture of Jesus used in such a disrespectful and demeaning manner. I doubt very much that Jesus would have been pleased," Gallego said at a press conference.
  • The Houston Chronicle reports that the Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to Celltex Therapeutics, the biotechnology firm that stored the adult stem cells used in Gov. Rick Perry's 2011 back surgery. The FDA accused the company, which has come under scrutiny in recent months, of marketing an unlicensed drug.

"George Bush embraced comprehensive immigration reform. He didn't call for self-deportation." — Obama at Tuesday night's presidential debate, answering a question on the differences between Mitt Romney and George W. Bush


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