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The Brief: Jan. 15, 2014

The campaigns of Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott don't agree on much, so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that even the announcement of campaign contributions has become a source of disagreement.

At separate events, Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, filed for governor in Austin, Texas on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013.

The Big Conversation

The campaigns of Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott don't agree on much, so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that even the announcement of campaign contributions has become a source of disagreement.

Davis was first out of the gate on Tuesday in announcing what she raised over the final six months of 2013 — $12.2 million. Abbott was out soon afterward with his fundraising figure — a slightly less gaudy but still eye-popping $11.5 million. The Tribune's Jay Root wrote: "Both had bragging rights: Abbott outraised Davis when it came to their actual campaign accounts. But Davis had more when counting the joint 'Texas Victory Committee' that splits its resources between her campaign and Battleground Texas, a group working to drive up Democratic turnout and make the GOP-ruled state politically competitive."

Counting that $3.5 million toward Davis' total of $12.2 million had the Abbott campaign and his allies accusing the Davis campaign of using "fuzzy math." Democrats were quick to counter that this money was being used to support Davis and was therefore fair game to be claimed as part of the top-line number.

It matters whether Davis is able to claim a larger fundraising figure since it points to her meeting and surpassing a "credibility threshold," as Democratic operative Matt Angle told Peggy Fikac of the Houston Chronicle. It also means national headlines bringing more attention (and dollars) to the race. And that matters because at the end of the day, Abbott still has $27 million to spend to keep the Governor's Mansion in Republican hands. Davis has farther to get to the $30 million to $40 million reckoned to be needed to run a competitive general election campaign. So she needs the cash spigots to remain open from here on out.

The Day Ahead

•    It's campaign finance filing day! The bigger campaigns have been leaking their top-line numbers all this week, but after today, all candidates will have let the world know the level of resources they will bring to the quick sprint to the March primaries.

•    Maria Shriver's interview with Wendy Davis airs on the Today show.

•    Davis will be in Harlingen to talk about expanding access to early college opportunities. She delivers remarks at 9:30 a.m. at Texas State Technical College.

Today in the Trib

Fight Over Payday Loans, from Capitol to Campaign Trail: "In Texas, where payday and auto-title lending is a $4-billion-a-year industry with some 3,500 businesses, there are no limits on fees or loan sizes. Texans take out larger loans and pay higher fees than consumers in the nation as a whole."

Contested Races Within GOP Reflect Broader Rift: "Republicans have a comfortable majority in the Texas Legislature, but in the primaries, the debate is over which sorts of Republicans should be in control."

Keystone XL Southern Leg Nears Activation: "Despite critics' calls for more scrutiny, federal pipeline regulators say they see no reason to delay activating the Oklahoma-to-Texas leg of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which is set to be turned on next week."


Muñoz family sues to remove life supportFort Worth Star-Telegram

LCRA proposes water rate increases across basin, Austin American-Statesman

Texas business group helps 32 lawmakers in push back against tea party fiscal hawks, The Dallas Morning News

Some homeowners get a break on flood insurance premiums, Houston Chronicle

U.S. judge strikes down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriageThe Oklahoman

The Mythical Monolith, The American Prospect

Quote to Note

“We do not want an adversarial fight, but we want to make our case as to why that plane should be relocated to Austin.” — LBJ Foundation Chairman Emeritus Tom Johnson on "a bureaucratic tug-of-war" over the plane on which the Texas president took his oath of office. It currently resides at a museum near Dayton, Ohio.

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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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Health care Politics David Dewhurst Four Price Greg Abbott John Smithee Kel Seliger Wendy Davis