The Big Conversation
Chris Christie is coming to Texas on Thursday and with a large target on his back placed there by Democrats.
As chairman of the Republican Governors Association, the New Jersey governor and potential presidential candidate will be in Dallas and Fort Worth for fundraisers. But he also brings baggage in the form of allegations that his administration engaged in political revenge against enemies. His appearances on behalf of the RGA now have "a strikingly cloistered quality," The New York Times reported. "His aides refuse to disclose the location of his fund-raising appearances, and the Republican candidates for whom he is raising money seem reluctant to stand beside him in public."
Texas' presumptive Republican nominee for governor, Greg Abbott, for instance, plans to be in Houston to again lay out his plan to secure the border. Texas Democrats, meanwhile, plan to hold a press conference in Dallas, part of an overall strategy, according to the Times, to send a "message to Republicans thinking of appearing with Mr. Christie: His problems will become your problems."
The Day Ahead
• Lieutenant governor candidate and state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, takes part in an 8 a.m. TribLive conversation at The Austin Club. The Tribune will livestream the event for those unable to be there in person.
• New Jersey Gov. and possible 2016 presidential hopeful Chris Christie is in Texas to meet with donors as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Democrats plan a noon press conference in Dallas to discuss the visit, which does not include any appearances with Gov. Rick Perry or GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott.
• Abbott is in Houston on Thursday afternoon to continue to promote his “Securing Texans” policy plan.
• As part of its annual conference at the Sheraton Austin Hotel, the Texas Association of Business will host a forum featuring the four GOP candidates for lieutenant governor — David Dewhurst, Dan Patrick, Jerry Patterson and Todd Staples.
Today in the Trib
Could Atlanta's "Snow Jam" Happen in Texas?: "The snow storm that created a traffic nightmare last week in Atlanta last week sheds light on the challenges facing car-dependent urban areas in Texas and other states that see severe winter weather infrequently."
Campaign Finance Viewer, Primary 30-Day 2014: "With the primaries just a month away, Texas candidates have filed campaign finance reports for Jan. 1-23. We have put those reports into our interactive analyzer, allowing you to view contributions, expenditures and where all of the money originated."
Interactive: Texas' Uninsured and Obamacare Enrollment: "For more than a decade, Texas has maintained the highest rate of people without health insurance in the nation. To help measure the impact of Affordable Care Act enrollment efforts, this interactive provides context on Texas' uninsured population."
U.S. House Panel's Hearing Centers on EPA and Texas: "The contentious relationship between Texas and the Environmental Protection Agency was the primary focus of a Wednesday hearing of the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee."
Court Reverses DNA Testing Decision in Swearingen Case: "The state’s highest criminal court on Wednesday reversed a lower court’s decision to allow further DNA testing in the case of death row inmate Larry Swearingen, sending his case back to a district court."
GOP attorney general candidates targeting each other, Austin American-Statesman
Party Predictions Differ in Texas on Impact of New Voter ID Law, The New York Times
House conservatives rule out immigration this year, The Associated Press
Did the dustup over Wendy Davis’ personal story help campaign fundraising? Looks like it did, The Dallas Morning News
Chasnoff: Hall runs over anti-toll ally to praise Chan, San Antonio Express-News
Is Rio Grande Valley corruption a third-world problem?, McAllen Monitor
A rare look inside the Koch brothers political empire, The Washington Post
Quote to Note
“We’re not bed-wetters down here.”
— Greg Abbott political strategist Dave Carney on the suggestion by Democrats that Abbott's decision not to appear with Chris Christie during his Texas visit proves he is "too controversial for Texas"
Trib Events for the Calendar
• Sen. Kel Seliger and Reps. John Smithee and Four Price at West Texas A&M in Canyon, 2/7
• A Conversation With Sid Miller, Candidate for Ag Commissioner at the Austin Club, 2/13
• Reps. Joe Deshotel, Allan Ritter and James White 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
• Live Post-Primary Election TribCast at the Austin Club, 3/5
• A Conversation With Sen. Charles Schwertner and Reps. John Raney and Kyle Kacal at Texas A&M University in College Station, 3/27
• A Conversation with U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway at Midland College in Midland, 5/13
• Save the date for the 2014 Texas Tribune Festival: 9/19-9/21