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Inside Intelligence: About Those Election Laws...

For this week's nonscientific survey of insiders in government and politics, we asked about setting up a presdential race, resigning to run, getting federal permission to change election laws and whether the 2014 primaries will be on time.

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We asked the insiders about politics this week, starting with the man at the top of state government. A strong majority said Gov. Rick Perry should not seek another term as governor if he wants to run for president in 2016.

The insiders said Texas railroad commissioners should resign their offices when they run for other jobs and said appointed regulators should also be required to follow a resign-to-run law.

On the eve of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on a key redistricting case, Texans were rallying to the side of challengers to the Voting Rights Act; 57 percent said Texas should not have to seek federal approval when it changes its election laws. As the respondents were finishing up, the court ruled that the part of the law that describes which states have to get preclearance is unconstitutional.

Finally, we asked if ongoing redistricting litigation is likely to delay next year’s election primaries in Texas. A skinny majority — 51 percent — expects those elections to proceed on time.

We collected comments along the way and a full set of those is attached. A sampling follows below:

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If Rick Perry wants to run for president in 2016, should he seek another term as governor in 2014?

• "He currently has no active campaign apparatus in place and his new plan is to seek appointed national office or Huckabee type bully pulpit because he could not get elected to squat outside of Texas. A good plan actually."

• "At this point for him he could do it either way - but perhaps not running for governor makes him a more serious presidential candidate - at least in terms of mass appeal. He can do either."

• "Let's see: As governor he can fly around the country--including key early states--on "official" business to raise his profile and raise cash or he can call it quits and pay out of his own pocket to travel to key early state and have a harder time raising money. Even an Aggie can figure out this one..."

• "The Governor doesn't need to add to his long and successful tenure in order bolster a bid for president."

• "Better to be a sitting governor than a former one. And he'll keep doing crazy things for our amusement!"

• "Decide what you really want and go for it. Perry proved the last time only a full time commitment to seek the Presidency will do."

• "Politically, yes. Responsibly, no. In January 2015 he'll need to be in Iowa courting votes, not naming the official citrus fruit of Texas."

• "As a former governor, he'd have time on his hands to move to Iowa, but little campaign money to tell voters he was there amongst them."

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Should Texas Railroad commissioners be required to resign if they declare their candidacies for other offices?

• "No - but if the Legislature tries it again, they should include themselves and every other state elected official."

• "Why is resign to run good for local officials (who might run against state officials) but not state officials?"

• "What does "AG" stand for? Aspiring Governor (not Attorney General). All offices are stepping stones to something else. No need to punish folks for being ambitious."

• "RRC and all elected offices should be subject to such a requirement. This "free shot" crap has got to stop. It's just a shakedown of everyone in sight."

• "Don't think they should be different than any other elected official (i.e. state senators). I believe all should be required to resign to run for another office."

• "The RRC is in part an adjudicatory office. If judges must resign to run, commissioners should be required to do so as well."

• "If you want to be something else then you should move on!"

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Should government regulators — appointed or elected — be required to resign if they declare their candidacies for elected offices?

• "If they are an appointed official (PUC, TCEQ, etc.), I think they should be required to resign before seeking elected state/statewide office."

• "If the resign to run practice is good enough for our supreme court justices, then it should be good enough for everyone else."

• "For crying out loud -- they are POLITICIANS! They run for office, and move up the ladder. If they are always resigning to run for other office, we'll have mayhem."

• "Not required but I their action to do so, or not do so, should be noted by the voter."

• "Requiring resignation will force many regulators to stay put and do their jobs. It's the best method to take away the competitive fundraising advantage they have over others running for the same office."

• "Too many times the regulated industry feels "pressure" to support candidates or be subjected to subtle retribution if the individual is not elected."

• "See how much money you can raise when you don't have any "authority" over any one!"

• "We have regulators? In Texas? Working for the government? Is Rick Perry aware of this?"

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Should Texas continue to be subject to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires federal preclearance before any change in the state’s election laws?

• "Thank God we have the federal government to save us from ourselves."

• "This continues to be a federal "Mother May I?" requirement for only a few states. If it's that necessary, make all 50 states comply."

• "This oversight needs to stop. It has morphed into a tool to provide seats in the legislature to Democrats."

• "This state is NOT ready to be out of VRA. Witness the many attempts at voter suppression laws."

• "While strides have been made in making voting rights available to all eligible citizens, discrimination still exists. Section 5 should be kept."

• "The Act has outlived its purpose. Next thing you know, we'll have to gerrymander districts to give whites representation."

• "Equal protection in my mind means minority populations should be protected in New York and Maine to the same level they are in Texas or vice versa."

• "It is the guarantee of one person, one vote. Preclearance is not a problem for anyone if the maps are fair for all Texans."

• "Good for the goose, good for the gander. Think that all states should be subject to requirement or none. It shouldn't be selective."

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Do you think the 2014 primaries will occur on schedule in March or that redistricting litigation will cause them to be postponed, as they were in 2012?

• "I think the Democrats and Tea-Partiers would like that."

• "Not even a Federal Judge would want to live through that again!"

• "The current Atty. Gen. has screwed this up again and it will become apparent the Primaries will be delayed yet again."

• "God willing. The Courts need to butt out and let elections occur on schedule"

• "Tough to call, if Section 5 ceases to exist after Shelby then in March for sure, but if Section 5 lives, then a delay is more likely."

Our thanks to this week's participants: Gene Acuna, Cathie Adams, Brandon Aghamalian, Jenny Aghamalian, Clyde Alexander, George Allen, Jay Arnold, Dave Beckwith, Andrew Biar, Allen Blakemore, Tom Blanton, Chris Britton, Andy Brown, David Cabrales, Kerry Cammack, Marc Campos, Thure Cannon, Snapper Carr, Janis Carter, William Chapman, Elizabeth Christian, Elna Christopher, John Colyandro, Kevin Cooper, Beth Cubriel, Randy Cubriel, Curtis Culwell, Denise Davis, Hector De Leon, June Deadrick, Nora Del Bosque, David Dunn, Richard Dyer, Jeff Eller, Jack Erskine, John Esparza, Norman Garza, Dominic Giarratani, Bruce Gibson, Stephanie Gibson, Kinnan Golemon, Daniel Gonzalez, Jim Grace, Kathy Grant, John Greytok, Clint Hackney, Wayne Hamilton, Bill Hammond, Adam Haynes, Ken Hodges, Steve Holzheauser, Laura Huffman, Deborah Ingersoll, Cal Jillson, Bill Jones, Mark Jones, Robert Jones, Robert Kepple, Richard Khouri, Tom Kleinworth, Sandy Kress, Nick Lampson, Pete Laney, Dick Lavine, James LeBas, Luke Legate, Leslie Lemon, Richard Levy, Ruben Longoria, Vilma Luna, Matt Mackowiak, Dan McClung, Mike McKinney, Robert Miller, Bee Moorhead, Mike Moses, Steve Murdock, Keir Murray, Nelson Nease, Keats Norfleet, Pat Nugent, Sylvia Nugent, Nef Partida, Gardner Pate, Robert Peeler, Jerry Philips, Tom Phillips, Wayne Pierce, Allen Place, Royce Poinsett, Gary Polland, Jay Propes, Ted Melina Raab, Bill Ratliff, Karen Reagan, Patrick Reinhart, Kim Ross, Grant Ruckel, Jason Sabo, Andy Sansom, Stan Schlueter, Bruce Scott, Steve Scurlock, Ben Sebree, Bradford Shields, Christopher Shields, Jason Skaggs, Ed Small, Todd Smith, Larry Soward, Leonard Spearman, Dennis Speight, Tom Spilman, Jason Stanford, Bob Strauser, Colin Strother, Charles Stuart, Michael Quinn Sullivan, Sherry Sylvester, Jay Thompson, Russ Tidwell, Gerard Torres, Trent Townsend, Trey Trainor, Vicki Truitt, David White, Darren Whitehurst, Peck Young, Angelo Zottarelli.

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