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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Our reporting on political races continues with Aaronson in Dallas’ Kent-Villalba contest in HD-114, Aguilar on the Lozano-Gonzalez Toureilles race in HD-43, Ramshaw on the heated Davis-Shelton battle in Tarrant County’s SD-10, Root on the introduction of Jesus into the Canseco-Gallego race in CD-23, Batheja contrasts ways to pay for new road projects in Texas, Grissom on the difference between county and state lockups for juveniles, Hamilton profiles the Senate’s new honcho of higher education, Murphy’s latest data drilling on Super PACs and presidential contributions by ZIP code, M. Smith’s report on cheerleaders and religion in Kountze, and video of E. Smith’s conversation with four experts on the future of Medicare: The best of our best from Oct. 15 to 19, 2012.

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In Dallas, former Democratic state Rep. Carol Kent, who was swept out of office in the Republican wave of 2010, is vying for an open House seat against Jason Villalba, a political newcomer and Hispanic Republican.

In South Texas, Democrat Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles is hitting her Republican opponent, incumbent J.M. Lozano of Kingsville, for neglecting to report $55,000 in donations from PACs associated with GOP heavy hitters.

All eyes are on the Fort Worth matchup between state Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic incumbent, and her Republican challenger, state Rep. Mark Shelton — and not just because it is expected to be a nail-biter.

Three Republicans who served in the Legislature with Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, are criticizing his GOP opponent's use of a picture of Jesus in a controversial mail piece. Republican U.S. Rep. Francisco "Quico" Canseco is standing by the ad.

Two ideas are gaining momentum as Texas lawmakers consider ways to raise more money for road projects: raising the vehicle registration fee by $50 and dedicating the sales tax on car purchases to transportation.

County juvenile probation agencies produce better results for less money than state youth lockups, according to a report by the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. The report also says counties need more funds and oversight. 

The higher education background of state Sen. Kel Seliger, the new Senate Higher Education Committee chairman, is pretty thin, particularly when compared with that of his predecessor. But he says he's "learning a lot very rapidly."

New campaign finance reports filed this month show that Texans gave another $5 million to Super PACs, bringing the overall total to $83.1 million. 

With less than a month to go before the presidential election, we have updated our interactive map of Texas donors to presidential candidates by ZIP code.

Kountze has become the latest setting in a string of lawsuits over where students' rights to religious expression end and the constraints on Texas public schools as governmental entities begin, showing the fine line administrators must walk. 

Full video of our conversation about the future of Medicare with state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, Anne Dunkelberg of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis and Leo Linbeck III of the Health Care Compact Alliance.

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