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The Brief: Aug. 29, 2013

As Democrats await word from Wendy Davis, the search is on to fill the rest of the party's 2014 roster.

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, at the Texas Democratic convention on June 26, 2010.

The Big Conversation

As Democrats await word from state Sen. Wendy Davis, the search is on to fill the rest of the party's 2014 roster.

The Dallas Morning News reports that party operatives are attempting to recruit strong candidates to run alongside Davis for statewide office if she decides to seek the governorship.

In particular, the spotlight has fallen on state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, a San Antonio Democrat who says she's been encouraged to run for lieutenant governor. 

"I’m not ruling it out, but right now I’m holding off on considering it until Wendy decides what she’s going to do," Van de Putte told the Morning News. "I’ll wait until then to consider how I can make the state more competitive."

Other sought-after Democrats include state Sen. Royce West of Dallas, for lieutenant governor or attorney general; state Rep. Rafael Anchia of Dallas, for lieutenant governor or attorney general; state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio, for attorney general; and state Rep. Mike Villarreal of San Antonio, for comptroller.

Unlike the rest of those candidates, though, Van de Putte's term doesn't end until 2016, meaning she could run for higher office without giving up her seat in the Legislature.

"People wanting me to run for lieutenant governor is nothing new," she added. "But the phone calls and conversations have increased since Wendy Davis' filibuster."

Any decision from Van de Putte or any other Democrat waiting on Davis, however, won't likely come until the end of the month. Though Davis recently said she would declare her plans around Labor Day, she told the Tribune's Jay Root on Wednesday that she's postponing her announcement to help care for her ailing father.

"I had hoped to make public my decision about that next week, but with everything that’s going on with my dad, I won’t be doing that," Davis said. "It’s likely it will be late September before I do."


•    Nonbias ordinance draws long and loud argument (San Antonio Express-News): "A color-coded audience packed City Council Chambers and spilled onto the grounds outside Wednesday for an emotional and sometimes heated debate over proposed changes to San Antonio's nondiscrimination ordinance. Residents — those in favor wearing red and those opposed wearing blue — lined up through Main Plaza hours before the meeting began in hopes of securing a seat in chambers. … On several occasions, Mayor Julián Castro, dressed in a pink shirt and red tie, asked the audience members to quiet down because they were overpowering speakers. A sea of blue and a raucous applause greeted Elisa Chan to begin discussion on the ordinance. The District 9 councilwoman last week defended comments she'd made against the ordinance, including remarks about same-sex families and transgender people."

•    Joaquín Castro marks 50th anniversary of 'I Have a Dream' (San Antonio Express-News): "U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro delivered a short but poignant speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial Wednesday, calling on inspiration from Martin Luther King Jr., and the civil rights pioneers who shared his Texas roots. Castro, D-San Antonio, was the only Texan and sole Latino to address the crowd gathered to commemorate 50 years since King's 'I Have a Dream' declaration was first delivered here during the 1963 March on Washington. He recognized the contributions of Texans — President Lyndon B. Johnson as well as Gus Garcia and Willie Velasquez, leaders of the Chicano and Latino rights movement — during the nationally televised address."

•    Death Penalty for Rampage at Fort Hood (The New York Times): "Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist who admitted to killing 13 unarmed people at Fort Hood nearly four years ago, was sentenced to death by lethal injection by a jury on Wednesday, becoming one of only a handful of men on military death row."

•    Texas Fast-Food Workers to Join Nationwide Strike (The Texas Tribune): "Fast-food workers in Houston, Dallas and Austin plan to participate in a nationwide pre-Labor Day strike on Thursday, organizers say. The workers are calling for $15-an-hour wages."

•    Activists Sound Off as State Prepares to Enact Abortion Regulations (The Texas Tribune): "As the state health department prepares to implement stringent new abortion facility regulations approved by lawmakers in July, abortion rights advocates continue to voice concerns that the rules will endanger women."

Quote to Note: "Obama is taking the US to war with Syria and Russia so he can support his friends from Al-Qaeda in Syria." — State Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, in a tweet on Wednesday


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