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The Evening Brief: July 23, 2013

Your evening reading: Branch announces bid for attorney general; Huckabee endorses Patrick for lieutenant governor; Democrats score influx of cash after filibuster.

State Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, at a TribLive event on June 1, 2012.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Branch Launches Campaign for Attorney General: "In an announcement Tuesday at Southern Methodist University, state Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, officially launched his bid to be the state's next attorney general, saying he plans to put an end to 'runaway federal government.'"

•    Some Democrats' Political Accounts See Boost in Donations After Filibuster: "State Sen. Wendy Davis' filibuster against abortion legislation gave Democrats across the country a rare red-state rallying point, and some of them responded by opening their checkbooks."

•    Abbott: Family Ties Provide Common Ground With Hispanic Voters: "Highlighting his ties to the Hispanic community during his gubernatorial campaign launch, Attorney General Greg Abbott is wooing Hispanic voters who have tended to identify with the Democratic Party."

•    Despite Challenges, Texas' Electric Grid Ranks High: "A new report ranks Texas first out of 41 states for improvements in its electric grid. But that doesn't mean electricity prices are lower for most Texans — or that the grid doesn't face serious challenges."


•    Patrick touts Huckabee endorsement (San Antonio Express-News): "Sen. Dan Patrick said Tuesday he’s snagged the endorsement of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in his bid for the seat held by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. Huckabee last year endorsed Dewhurst in his U.S. Senate race, which he lost to now-Sen. Ted Cruz."

•    Humorist Kinky Friedman considering another bid for office in Texas (Fort Worth Star-Telegram): "Kinky Friedman doesn’t know whether he’s ready to jump back into Texas politics. But the cigar-chewing humorist and musician — known for the black attire and cowboy hats he normally dons — said he may soon create an exploratory committee to help him decide whether to run for office again. And if so, for which one. 'Maybe I should do what Rick Perry does and pray for an answer on what to do,' Friedman, 68, said with a chuckle Tuesday during a telephone interview with the Star-Telegram."

•    State Sen. Ken Paxton to announce political plans next week (The Dallas Morning News): "Just hours after Texas Rep. Dan Branch announced his campaign for attorney general, his potential North Texas rival took a step closer to getting in the contest. State Sen. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, said he’ll discuss his political future next week."

•    Former state Rep. Ray Keller announces for RR Commissioner (The Dallas Morning News): "Ray Keller, a Republican who represented southern Dallas County in the Texas House from 1979-1987, is re-entering politics after 25 years. Keller announced that he will run in the Republican primary for the Railroad Commission, which oversees oil and gas."

•    Rep. Steve King earns bipartisan condemnation for saying there are 100 drug dealers for every 'Dreamer' success story (Houston Chronicle): "Iowa Rep. Steve King likes to push the rhetorical envelope when talking about immigrants. But the Republican provocateur got himself into deep trouble when he told an interviewer from Newsmax that there for every undocumented immigrant who became a high school valedictorian, there are 100 with 'calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.'"

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