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The Brief: June 5, 2013

As Democrats work to turn Texas blue, Republicans have their own plans for making the state even redder.

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The Big Conversation

As Democrats work to turn Texas blue, Republicans have their own plans for making the state even redder.

On Tuesday, Steve Munisteri, chairman of the state GOP, announced plans to boost the party's outreach efforts among minorities and young people, as The Dallas Morning News reports.

With the help of national Republicans, Munisteri said, the state party over the next few months will fill five new field offices with staffers who will work to woo Hispanics, blacks, Asian-Americans and young people. The Republican National Committee will contribute $1 million to the effort, on top of the $2.5 million the state party plans to spend on outreach.

Munisteri attributed the national party's new willingness to spend money in reliably red Texas to the 2012 election results, as well as new groups like Battleground Texas, which represents national Democrats' biggest push yet to turn Texas blue.

"They are ratcheting up … their work, so we need to up our game as well," Munisteri told the Morning News.

Lynda Tran, a spokeswoman for Battleground Texas, said the move proved that Democrats have put Texas Republicans on defense.

"The fact that the national party is investing real money in Texas is the best evidence yet that Republicans are taking Battleground Texas and its partners very seriously," Tran said.

News of Republicans' new outreach plans came the same day the party distanced itself from Ken Emanuelson, a Dallas Tea Party leader who recently said the GOP doesn't want blacks to vote because they overwhelmingly support Democrats. (Battleground Texas used the comments in a fundraising appeal on Tuesday.)

"It doesn’t reflect the Republican Party of Texas' position, and it doesn’t reflect my position," Munisteri said of Emanuelson's comments, adding: "It is immoral to ignore large segments of the population with our message. If we think our message is good for one community, then it should be spread to all communities."


•    Cruz Outlines Opposition to Immigration Reform Bill (The Texas Tribune): "In a letter sent to his colleagues on Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz outlined why he and several other Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will oppose a bipartisan attempt at immigration reform. Cruz, R-Texas, and U.S. Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.; Mike Lee, R-Utah; and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, say that the current proposal, a measure authored by a coalition of senators known as the 'Gang of Eight,' fails to secure the border or prevent future inflows of illegal migrants."

•    Cornyn prepares 'poison pill' for immigration bill (San Antonio Express-News): "Sen. John Cornyn will offer an amendment to a sweeping immigration reform bill that would require law enforcement to have 100 percent U.S. control of the Southwest border before permanent status can be offered to undocumented immigrants here illegally, aides said Tuesday."

•    Report: Obama's pre-K plan could bring Texas $308 million (San Antonio Express-News): "Texas could get an estimated $308 million in grants to fund one year of early childhood education if the state participates in President Barack Obama's proposal to expand access to high-quality pre-kindergarten, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education."

•    Combs certifies the budget fits within available revenue (The Dallas Morning News): "Comptroller Susan Combs certified late Tuesday that the two-year, $197 billion state budget fits within available revenue, as the Texas Constitution requires. Combs spokesman R.J. DeSilva said the Republican comptroller also declared the state will have enough money to pay for three smaller spending bills passed by lawmakers in their recently concluded regular session."

Quote of the Day: "That was a mistake. I hold no position of authority within the Republican Party and it wasn't my place to opine on behalf of the desires of the Republican Party." — Dallas Tea Party leader Ken Emanuelson, explaining his recent comment that Republicans don't want blacks to vote because they overwhelmingly support Democrats


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