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The Brief: May 30, 2013

A burst of political jockeying — sparked by a surprise retirement announcement — lit up the third day of the special session.

Comptroller Susan Combs at the Texas Capitol on July 19, 2011.

The Big Conversation

A burst of political jockeying — sparked by a surprise retirement announcement — lit up the third day of the special session.

On Wednesday, Comptroller Susan Combs announced that she would not seek re-election or run for lieutenant governor in 2014, a race she had previously been eyeing.

In a statement, Combs said she would continue to focus on policy work throughout the rest of her term but that she hoped to spend more time on her West Texas ranch. "I want to make my intentions clear as soon as possible for prospective statewide candidates," she said.

Combs later told YNN Austin that she would support Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in his 2014 re-election bid and that she had told him months ago that if he ran, she wouldn't run against him. "I feel a sense of loyalty to friends," she said, adding, "I'm a fan of David's."

Combs' announcement set off a scramble among Republicans interested in her job. State Sen. Glenn Hegar of Katy and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Tommy Williams released statements on Wednesday expressing interest in the job, joining a group of contenders that already included former gubernatorial contender Debra Medina, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Harvey Hilderbran of Kerrville and former state Rep. Raul Torres of Corpus Christi. State Rep. Tom Craddick, a former House speaker, is also said to be considering a bid.

As The Dallas Morning News notes, the crowded field could result in the "most competitive GOP primary in over a decade."

As for Combs, though she may have faced tough questioning from Republicans over issues like abortion, she would have also commanded a hefty fundraising edge: At last count her campaign fund held more than $7 million. 

Culled

•    Sen. Ted Cruz brings vision to Republican donors in New York (The Dallas Morning News): "With protesters outside denouncing his views on guns and immigration, Sen. Ted Cruz offered New York Republicans a blend of defiance, optimism and Texas wisdom Wednesday night. … More than 100 protesters gathered across 42nd Street from the Grand Hyatt near Grand Central Station. That, and the dinner invitation itself, reflected Cruz’s unusually high profile for a senator of five months’ tenure — and the polarizing niche he’s carved."

•    Redistricting Lawyers: Keep the Senate Maps for 2014 (The Texas Tribune): "Redistricting lawyers from all sides — the state and the parties suing the state — told a federal court Wednesday that maps used to elect the Texas Senate in 2012 are acceptable to them and could be adopted without objection. But differences remain on maps used to elect the state’s congressional delegation and the 150 members of the state House, and the judges asked the lawyers for arguments on how to proceed."

•    Reversal by Delia Jasso may sink Dallas City Council gay marriage debate (The Dallas Morning News): "The Dallas City Council was set to debate gay marriage in less than two weeks. But that plan is now in doubt after lame duck council member Delia Jasso made a surprise decision to withdraw her support for placing the issue on the council’s June 12 agenda."

Quote of the Day: "As we’ve seen in the last few weeks, a month can be an eternity in politics." — Ted Cruz at a New York Republican Party dinner on Wednesday, alluding to recent string of scandals plaguing the Obama administration

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