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The Brief: Feb. 25, 2014

Democrats and Republicans in Texas differ in their enthusiasm for spending more money for education, but they tend to agree on the need to invest more, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, have both made education a central point in their gubernatorial bids.

The Big Conversation

Democrats and Republicans in Texas differ in their enthusiasm for spending more money for education, but they tend to agree on the general need to invest more. That's the conclusion being drawn from the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

For instance, supporters of Democrat Wendy Davis favor increased teacher pay by a 90-7 margin. That compares with 62-34 support among backers of Republican Greg Abbott. More polarizing is the question of higher school funding, which is backed 90-7 by Davis supporters but only 49-48 by Abbott supporters. On the other side of the partisan divide, school vouchers were favored by 38 percent of Davis supporters but 64 percent of Abbott supporters.

Still, the survey found increased school funding was cited by the most respondents (28 percent) as the most effective way of improving K-12 education in Texas. The next most cited reforms were reducing standardized testing (17 percent), creating a school voucher program (14 percent) and increasing teacher pay (14 percent).

Tomorrow's installment of the UT/TT poll takes a look at issues of importance to Texans.

The Day Ahead

•    Democratic lite guv candidate Leticia Van de Putte casts her primary ballot in her hometown of San Antonio.

•    GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott is in Amarillo and Lubbock while GOP lite guv candidate Todd Staples is in Midland for get-out-the-vote rallies.

•    In San Marcos, a collection of water experts meets for a daylong conference aimed at using public education and alternative water strategies to deal with shortages of the resource.

Today in the Trib

In Supreme Court Races, a Clash Over Contributors: "Three Texas Supreme Court justices up for re-election face GOP primary challenges. Backers of the incumbents are critical about where support for those challengers is coming from. And those challengers have questioned the current court's conservatism."

Latest Texas-EPA Battle Goes Before U.S. Supreme Court: "The Obama administration's climate change agenda on Monday faced one of its first tests in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard a case brought by Texas and industry leaders against a federal greenhouse gas regulation."

Abbott and Davis Both Claim Fundraising Success: "Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis and a fundraising partner raised more money in the last month than the campaign of Attorney General Greg Abbott, but Abbott has nearly three times the cash on hand."


Patrick denies writing letter produced by former employee, Houston Chronicle

Stockman aide's mailer stirs up Texas Senate race, Houston Chronicle

Some predict Davis, Abbott race will break records, San Antonio Express-News

G.O.P. Leaders Draw Re-election Challenges From the Right, The New York Times

Under Attack From the Establishment, Tea-Party Candidacies Fizzling, National Journal

GW Bush media advisor helping to lead Southern gay marriage effort, The Dallas Morning News

The State Where Obamacare Stopped Working, The Atlantic

Quote to Note

“You never look back, and I never have looked back at the events that transpired that caused me to be in a wheelchair. I look forward, and that’s the way my campaign will run.”

— GOP gubernatorial Greg Abbott, answering a question during a news conference in McKinney on whether he regretted making public appearances with controversial rocker Ted Nugent

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    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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Health care Politics Dan Patrick Greg Abbott Pete Sessions Wendy Davis