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The Brief: Aug. 15, 2013

While state Sen. Wendy Davis mulls a gubernatorial bid, attention has shifted back to her home district.

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The Big Conversation

While state Sen. Wendy Davis mulls a gubernatorial bid, attention has shifted back to her home district.

As the Tribune's Alexa Ura reports, two of the Republicans vying for the GOP nomination to replace Davis — whether she runs for governor or not — painted a target on the senator during a candidate forum in Fort Worth on Wednesday evening.

Davis "has opened the door for me with this filibuster," said one of the Republicans, Konni Burton, a Tea Party activist who on Wednesday released a campaign video attacking Davis on abortion. "She’s a liberal progressive, and I’m going to be shining the light on that."

Burton appeared alongside Mark Skinner, a real estate business owner who said that whether Davis runs for re-election to the Senate or not, "we need to be prepared to fight the best fight." Former state Rep. Mark Shelton, whom Davis defeated in 2012, is also running.

The district's slight GOP lean bodes well for Republicans, especially in an election year without a presidential race at the top of the ticket. But Democrats assert that even if Davis — a formidable fundraiser, especially after her June filibuster — runs for governor, they'll be able to hold the seat.

Among the possible Democratic candidates: Joel Burns, who succeeded Davis on the Fort Worth City Council after she won her Senate seat in 2008.

"It’s something that I’ve thought about," Burns said of running, according to The Dallas Morning News. "But until she decides what she wants to do, I can’t give it more than that."

Other potential Democratic candidates include freshman state Rep. Nicole Collier of Fort Worth and former Fort Worth City Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks. The Morning News also name-checks state Rep. Chris Turner of Arlington and his wife, Democratic strategist Lisa Turner, though Rep. Turner assured the paper that he would run for re-election to the House.

Davis has said she'll announce her intentions sometime within the next couple of weeks.

Culled

•    Rick Perry supporters raise funds to sell his ideas nationally (The Dallas Morning News): "Top supporters of Gov. Rick Perry have created a nonprofit group to raise money and tout the governor’s economic leadership as he tests the water for another presidential run. The new organization, Americans for Economic Freedom, will be seeded with about $200,000 left over from a similar Perry support group used two years ago. Austin lobbyist and former Perry chief of staff Mike Toomey and top contributor Brint Ryan introduced Americans for Economic Freedom on Wednesday."

•    Abbott raises privacy concern with Affordable Care Act grants (Austin American-Statesman): "Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and 12 other attorneys general sent a letter today to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius saying that the personal information of those who sign up for insurance under the federal health care reform this fall won’t be properly protected."

•    Special prosecutor expected in complaint against Perry (Austin American-Statesman): "A special prosecutor will be named as early as next week to investigate a complaint that Gov. Rick Perry violated state laws when he threatened to veto funding for the Austin-based ethics enforcement unit."

Quote to Note: "From Molly Ivins to Louie Gohmert and every opinion between Texans value free and open political speech. I’m sure any rodeo in Texas would be proud to have performers." — U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Friendswood, in a statement inviting an Obama-mocking rodeo clown banned from the Missouri state fair to perform in Texas

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