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The Brief: May 27, 2014

Will Texas buck the larger national trend in Republican politics and go in deeper with support of Tea Party candidates and causes?

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The Big Conversation

Will Texas buck the larger national trend in Republican politics and go in deeper with support of Tea Party candidates and causes?

That would be a common, if not consensus, view in news coverage headed into today's primary runoff elections. The Dallas Morning News' Christy Hoppe wrote: "The victor in Tuesday’s runoff elections is already known. The tea party has won big. In virtually every Republican matchup, candidates have espoused the movement’s talking points, attended groups’ forums, and adopted their issues ... 'The debate has all been conducted in tea party territory,' said Rice University political science professor Mark P. Jones."

Writing for The New York Times, longtime Austin political writer Dave Montgomery offers a suggestion as to why Tea Party candidates in Texas are meeting with more success than counterparts in Kentucky and Georgia. He writes: "The continuing Tea Party momentum in Texas runs counter to the theme that emerged from last Tuesday’s primary results in six other states, where Tea Party reversals spawned talk that the nearly five-year-old grass-roots movement may have run its course. ... Analysts say Texas Tea Party groups are tightly organized and highly energetic, assisted by huge email lists and members who are far more likely than mainstream Republicans to engage in grass-roots efforts to target and get out voters. 'We provide boots on the ground,' said JoAnn Fleming of Tyler, executive director of Grassroots America We the People, one of the state’s largest Tea Party groups."

The Day Ahead

•    Today is Election Day in the party primary runoffs. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Click here to find the nearest polling place and please remember to bring photo ID.

•    The House Business and Industry Committee meets at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Extension to take invited testimony on lien laws in Texas. (agenda)

•    Economist and director of The Earth Institute Jeffrey Sachs will speak in Houston at a luncheon presented by the Columbia University Club of South Texas in partnership with the Harvard University Club of Houston and U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Today in the Trib

It's Runoff Election Day: "It started late last year and finally ends today. The primary election runoffs are topped by four particularly noisy statewide Republican races, a couple more involving Democrats and a smattering of legislative contests."

TribTalk: Primary Runoff Candidates Make Their Case: "Leading up to today's primary runoff, the candidates in statewide races made their best case for why they should be their party's nominee in November — columns we published on TribTalk. Here they are, in their own words."

Video: War of Words in Lt. Gov. Runoff: "No subject was off limits in the Republican primary runoff for Texas lieutenant governor. State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst exchanged heated attacks."

Video: AG Candidates Battle on the Airwaves: "The candidates in the Republican primary runoff for Texas attorney general traded sharp on-air jabs, spending more than $2 million combined to advertise in the state's largest TV markets. Take a look back at the ads they aired."


Tax collection vendors have widespread ties to lawmakers, officials, Houston Chronicle

Superintendents publicly criticize state testing, The Associated Press

Author of home-rule law wonders if it can succeed in Dallas, The Dallas Morning News

States that refuse Medicaid are leaving over 250,000 poor veterans uninsured, Vox

Leander Subway worker sues over getting paycheck on prepaid card, Austin American-Statesman

In Israel, Ted Cruz blasts Palestinians and Obama administration, The Dallas Morning News

Texas officials observe Ukraine election, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Quote to Note

“I don't know the Tea Party people. I don't know how to direct-mail them or anything. I tell them simply, just look at my record."

— U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Rockwall, telling the Today show about his outreach to the Tea Party segment of his party. The 91-year-old is facing the toughest re-election challenge of his career largely because of Tea Party support for his runoff opponent, John Ratcliffe.

Today in TribTalk

Nothing threatening about voter ID, by John Cornyn: "President Obama has accused Republicans of deliberately undermining the right to vote. These are outrageous charges, and they deserve a response."

The Texas Miracle depends on our students, by Michael Williams, Raymund Paredes and Andres Alcantar: "Texas can't just be the envy of the nation. The future of our success hinges on how we educate our students."

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With Sen. Glenn Hegar, Candidate for State Comptroller, at the Austin Club, 5/29

•    The Texas Tribune Festival runs from Sept. 19-21 at the University of Texas at Austin. Tickets are on sale now.

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