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The Brief: Feb. 14, 2014

The Wendy Davis for governor campaign and Battleground Texas have spent a combined $1.5 million on operatives and vendors who have ties to the Obama re-election effort, according to a Dallas Morning News report.

Sen. Wendy Davis D-Ft.Worth, speaks to media at ACC Rio Grande Campus on February 10th, 2014

The Big Conversation

The Dallas Morning News' Wayne Slater is reporting that Wendy Davis' campaign for governor and the allied Battleground Texas effort have dropped "more than $1.5 million on operatives and vendors who were part of Obama’s national re-election effort."

On the one hand, Slater reports that such spending is perhaps inevitable. After all, Battleground Texas is helmed by alums of the Obama election machine. Slater quotes Rice University political scientist Mark Jones, who said: "Once you start off hiring people with strong ties to the Obama campaign, you inherit their network, which inevitably brings you to hire more and more people with ties to the Obama campaign. Those are who these people are comfortable working with and have confidence in their ability to perform."

It also points to the notion that one Democratic goal for the Davis campaign is to prepare the ground for Hillary Clinton in 2016. "But it also opens a political liability for Davis," Slater wrote. "Republicans aim to tie her to the president, who is deeply unpopular among Texas voters."

The Day Ahead

•    Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is in Fort Worth on Saturday evening for the Tarrant County Democratic Party's Senate District Convention Ball.

•    Comptroller candidate Debra Medina and former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul are featured at the Texas: Free and Prosperous — Guns and Gold event in Houston on Saturday.

Today in the Trib

Farm Subsidies Go to Anti-Federal Government Candidates: "All of the GOP candidates for agriculture commissioner have benefited from farm subsidies, and they could benefit from the new farm bill. But they are also critics of the federal government, which writes those subsidy checks."

Campbell Faces Two Republican Challengers in SD-25 Race: "Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, is playing defense against two Republican primary challengers, Elisa Chan, a former San Antonio city councilwoman, and Mike Novak, a former Bexar County commissioner."

The Case of the Missing Democratic Voters: "Texas Democrats are hoping to win the support of people who have never voted before. They should be looking, as well, for Texans who voted for Democrats once before and never came back."

On Border, Flowers an Unlikely Form of Contraband: "While customs officers on the border have their hands full searching for heroin, marijuana and other drugs, at least once a year they face another foe with the potential to wreak havoc on the country's economy: flowers."


Greg Abbott hitting the trail with gun lover, hard rocker, provocateur Ted Nugent, The Dallas Morning News

Davis presses hot buttons in run for governor, San Antonio Express-News

Falkenberg: Teacher scores win against pay-to-play political endorsements, Houston Chronicle

Democratic challenger to Rep. Marc Veasey has history as a Republican, The Dallas Morning News

UT-RGV hires med school dean, sources confirm, McAllen Monitor

Reporters condemn Senate vote, Politico

Quote to Note

“As it happened, the media was so excited to have something interesting to watch it forgot that [it] was getting screwed. Never again.”

— Associated Press reporter Andrew Taylor, warning against a repeat of the Senate's silent tabulation of Wednesday's key vote on raising the debt ceiling

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    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. Wendy Davis, 2014 Democratic Candidate for Governor, at Stateside at the Paramount, 3/6

•    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

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Politics Greg Abbott Marc Veasey Wendy Davis