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The Brief: Nov. 11, 2013

Saturday marked a change of seasons — of the political variety this time.

Attorney General Greg Abbott spoke to supporters in Austin on Nov. 9, 2013, after officially filing for the 2014 gubernatori…

The Big Conversation

Saturday marked a change of seasons — of the political variety this time.

While most folks are not attuned to the shifting breezes that accompany the beginning of the candidate filing season, politicians of all stripes reacted in the customary manner. They filled out forms and paid fees to give them a chance to compete for their party's nomination for the office of their choice.

That was especially true for the two people who hope to face off a year from now in the contest for governor.

"Democratic State Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth went first, signing her application and paying the $3,750 filing fee at a downtown Austin mailing facility," reported The Texas Tribune's Jay Root. "Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, who began the day going to door-to-door looking for voters in Austin, followed suit shortly after noon at his state party headquarters."

Root added that the day for both candidates included "pep talks to volunteers and laying out a couple of key attack lines" that no doubt will be revisited time and time again over the next 12 months.

Now that the race has officially been joined, much attention will be paid to whether Davis can begin the task of whittling away at the structural advantage that GOP statewide candidates currently enjoy. Last week's release of numbers from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll showed that while Davis was within single digits of Abbott, nothing signified a change in the "underlying fundamentals" of the race.

If the storyline on the contest for governor tends to look beyond the March primary election, remaining statewide contests for lieutenant governor, comptroller, attorney general and agriculture commissioner will all focus attention on the GOP primary election.

With so many current officeholders on collision course with each other in all of those contests, March is shaping up to be a Texas-sized demolition derby. Will these pileups stay contained in their respective races? Or will one or two jump a retaining wall and mess with other elections — perhaps Abbott's steady drive to the nomination?

Culled

•    Gov. Rick Perry Questions NJ’s Gov. Chris Christie’s Ability to Appeal to Conservatives Nationwide (ABC News): "In a wide-ranging interview here, during a two-day visit to Iowa, Perry said the divisions among Republicans have been healthy for the party. But he said it was time for the establishment and tea party wings to rally around at least one shared goal: supporting strong candidates who can win. 'If you can’t win elections, you can’t govern,' Perry said. 'So winning an election is really important.'”

•    Texas and 5 Other States Resist Processing Benefits for Gay Couples (The New York Times): "Requiring same-sex Guard spouses to go to federally owned bases 'protects the integrity of our state Constitution and sends a message to the federal government that they cannot simply ignore our laws or the will of the people,' Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma said last week. But the six states are violating federal law, Mr. Hagel told an audience recently. 'It causes division among the ranks, and it furthers prejudice,' he said. Mr. Hagel has demanded full compliance, but Pentagon officials have not said what steps they would take with states that do not fall in line."

•    Harvard Law outsider became Tea Party hero (The Boston Globe): "Interviews with more than two dozen alumnae and professors fill in a portrait of Cruz, in Cambridge two decades ago, that would be fully recognizable to those who know him now in Washington. He made a lasting impression as someone both arrogant and pretentious, as well as someone unwilling to yield or compromise. But he was also universally respected for his intellect, described by friend and foe alike as brilliant but with a hard edge."

•    In Drought, Abbott Keeps Lawn Green by Drilling (The Texas Tribune): "With what has been described as the worst drought in recorded history punishing parts of Texas, Attorney General Greg Abbott found a way to keep watering his yard without risking fines or incurring huge monthly bills: He drilled his own well. Now his lawn is green, and there are no pesky city watering restrictions to worry about."

•    Ethical questions raised as doctors partner with pharmacies (Austin American-Statesman): "Pharmacies that custom-make drugs are soliciting physician investors in Texas and other states for potentially lucrative deals in which the doctors refer patients to the pharmacy and share in any profits. In addition, some compounding pharmacies are asking the doctors to refer patients to a clinical trial to test a pain cream or other compound the pharmacy provides, officials familiar with the proposals said."

Quote to Note“Is a conservative in New Jersey a conservative in the rest of the country? We’ll have that discussion at the appropriate time.” — Gov. Rick Perry, questioning pointedly in an interview with “This Week” the long term significance of Chris Christie's re-election as governor of The Garden State

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