The Brief: Jan. 14, 2014

Washington, D.C., is abuzz over the latest perceived thumb to the eye delivered by Ted Cruz to the House leadership.

Senator Ted Cruz R-Texas speaks to press during a visit to Killeen Texas on December 3rd, 2013.
Senator Ted Cruz R-Texas speaks to press during a visit to Killeen Texas on December 3rd, 2013.  Marjorie Kamys Cotera

The Big Conversation

Washington, D.C., is abuzz over the latest perceived thumb to the eye delivered by Ted Cruz to the House leadership: his hiring of former Republican Study Committee Executive Director Paul Teller to be his new deputy chief of staff.

Teller, as reported by The Daily Beast's Ben Jacobs, was fired last month "for leaking details of the Ryan-Murray budget negotiations to outside conservative groups in an apparent attempt to sabotage a bipartisan budget deal." Both Jacobs and Roll Call's Matt Fuller point to other instances in which Cruz has moved to undercut members of the House leadership, such as Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Pete Sessions of Texas.

More Jacobs: "Rather than trying to mend his rifts with the GOP establishment, Cruz is widening them. By hiring Teller and praising [Sessions challenger Katrina] Pierson (and allowing his father to endorse her), the Texas senator is pouring more fuel on the fire. Other Tea Party favorites like Rand Paul have taken conciliatory steps in recent months ... But Cruz is taking the opposite approach and betting that continued intraparty strife will boost both his ambitions and ideological agenda."

The Day Ahead

•    Lite guv candidate Jerry Patterson will speak to the Tarrant Star Republican Women in Fort Worth at 11 a.m.

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Today in the Trib

A Tale Of Two Fundraisers: Abbott And Davis: "If the past is any guide, Attorney General Greg Abbott will soon report huge contributions from wealthy donors, and state Sen. Wendy Davis will list a huge number of small donors from all around the country."

University Leaders: Higher Ed "Coming Out" of Controversial Time: "In 2012, Hunter Rawlings warned Texas was 'ground zero' for a controversial push to make higher education more utilitarian. On Monday, during an interview in Austin, he sounded tentatively more hopeful."

In Ag Commissioner Race, Hopefuls Expand Talking Points: "Republican candidates in the crowded field for agriculture commissioner could benefit from talking about a lot more than agricultural issues, and some are relying on that strategy more than others."

Stockman Surrogate Stumps for Elusive Candidate: "U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Friendswood, was a no-show at a Tea Party meeting Monday evening. A stand-in said the congressman, who recently returned from Egypt, was stuck in traffic."

Pregnant Woman on Life Support Stirs Political Debate: "A pregnant North Texas woman being kept on life support against her family's wishes is stirring political debate in a state immersed in competitive primary races."

Today in TW Politics

One of the stars of 2012's Tea Party wave in Tarrant County, Bedford House Republican Jonathan Stickland, is out with the first television ad of his re-election campaign. Check it out on the TW Politics page (subscription required).

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Must-Read

Rep. Hall's challenger loans campaign $400K, The Hill

Lt. gov. challengers aim for runoff with ad buys, Houston Chronicle

Lieutenant governor candidates court business group for support, Austin American-Statesman

New questions rise over Stockman's campaign finances, Houston Chronicle

Statewide hopeful Sid Miller shifted stocks from campaign account to personal use to pay off loans, The Dallas Morning News

Texas Vote-Buying Case Casts Glare on Tradition of Election Day Goads, The New York Times

Quote to Note

“I personally think this is the wrong time from our standpoint to go forward on immigration. It’s an election year. I mean, Texas is in the middle of primaries right now.” — U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, saying this year is the wrong time to push for immigration overhaul

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Trib Events for the Calendar

•    Regional premiere of Watershed followed by a panel discussion at Stateside at the Paramount on 1/15

•    Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, candidate for lieutenant governor, at the Austin Club on 1/16

•    A Conversation on Our Nation's Future Featuring U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan in San Antonio on 1/23

•    Comptroller candidate Debra Medina at the Austin Club on 1/30 

•    Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, candidate for lieutenant governor, at the Austin Club on 2/6

•    Sen. Kel Seliger and Reps. John Smithee and Four Price at West Texas A&M in Canyon on 2/7

•    Save the date for the 2014 Texas Tribune Festival: 9/19-9/21

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