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The Brief: Jan. 24, 2014

The story of Steve Stockman is rapidly turning from that of a Tea Party-fueled challenge to the GOP establishment to a headline ripped from a milk carton — as in, no one seems to know where the Clear Lake congressman is.

U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Friendswood, holds a QR code linked to a Bitcoin account at an event at the NYC Bitcoin Center in New York on Dec. 31, 2013.

The Big Conversation

The story of Steve Stockman is rapidly turning from that of a Tea Party-fueled challenge to the GOP establishment to a headline ripped from a milk carton — as in, no one seems to know where the Clear Lake congressman is.

The Associated Press' Will Weissert reported that Stockman, who switched his filing at the last minute to run against U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has now missed 17 straight votes in the U.S. House. That includes "one on the $1.1 trillion omnibus federal spending package he promised on Twitter to vote against. That's unusual since, even though Stockman has a reputation as a Capitol Hill renegade, he missed only about a dozen major votes all last year." Meanwhile, "Stockman's staff won't say where he is," Weissert wrote. "They have ignored more than six weeks of emails, telephone messages and social media posts from The Associated Press and other news outlets."

The Houston Chronicle's David McCumber and Will Tucker reported that Stockman was "in Egypt over the weekend for a congressional visit, but his office refused to confirm that, or to divulge where he was Thursday." Interestingly enough, the Stockman campaign blamed a lack of appearances before Jan. 14 on another trip to Egypt. For those keeping track at home, that means he's been to that country twice in the past two weeks while missing time in the House and on the campaign trail.

The Day Ahead

•    U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is in Houston to deliver the keynote address at the Downtown Houston Pachyderm Club Awards Luncheon.

Today in the Trib

Demand Response Could Factor in Grid Debate: "As the utilities and big energy users spar in Austin over how to best encourage the building of power plants, another important issue that is getting less public attention is about how Texas can curb its energy use."

In Texas, School Finance Battle is a Perennial One: "Lawmakers love to say that they have solved the state's school finance problems. With that system being challenged once again in court, it's clear that all they can do is readjust it every few years."

As Patent Suits Increase, Firms Fight Back: "Companies that exist only to collect dormant patents and then sue for infringement are a growing threat to firms, but both businesses and lawmakers are beginning to take action."

Ex-ConocoPhillips CEO Gives UT-Austin $60 Million: "On Friday, the University of Texas at Austin will announce a $60 million gift from the Mulva Family Foundation to support the university's McCombs School of Business and Cockrell School of Engineering."

Today in Texas Weekly

The TW Hot List of legislative races to watch has been updated to elevate the threat level in Jonathan Stickland's HD-92, and next week's special runoff election in the vacant Travis County HD-50 is previewed. Take advantage of the free preview period to check out our regular Newsreel, Inside Intelligence, Political People and Their Moves and The Week in the Rearview Mirror features.


Slater: How you see Wendy Davis' story depends on where you stand, The Dallas Morning News

Fikac: Difficult week for Davis continues with video, Houston Chronicle

Van de Putte finally admitted into DRT, San Antonio Express-News

New forecast gives hope for power reserves in Texas, Austin American-Statesman

Cruz demands special investigation of IRS, The Hill

Hannity Confirms He’s Leaving New York … Eventually, New York Magazine

Quote to Note

"When people tell you we are going to stop the diversions, that means they simply do not know how to solve the problem."

— Legislative candidate (and former Dallas City Councilwoman) Linda Koop, critiquing her rivals' approaches to addressing the state's transportation challenges at a candidate forum in northern Dallas County

News From Home

We’re nearing the end of the first of two free weeks of Texas Weekly. Enjoy it while you can, but don’t wait to sign up! The free preview ends Feb. 1.

Trib Events for the Calendar

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

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

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

•    Reps. Joe Deshotel and Allan Ritter at Lamar University in Beaumont, 2/19

•    Texas Tribune Festival On the Road at The University of Texas El Paso for a daylong symposium on demographic change, 2/27

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

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Explore related story topics

Politics Four Price Greg Abbott John Cornyn John Smithee Kel Seliger Ted Cruz Wendy Davis