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The Brief: June 26, 2014

On the eve of the Democratic state convention, Wendy Davis and friends commemorated the event that put the gubernatorial candidate on the national map.

Democratic nominee Wendy Davis addresses her supporters at the filibuster anniversary celebration hosted by her gubernatorial campaign.

The Big Conversation

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wendy Davis on Wednesday commemorated in front of a raucous crowd at an Austin events center the anniversary of her filibuster that temporarily halted a new set of restrictions on abortion facilities and put her on the national political map. She took advantage of the setting to expand her criticism of the Republican leadership, labeling them "insiders."

As the Tribune's Edgar Walters wrote, "Wednesday night's anniversary was an opportunity for Democrats to energize their base ahead of the state party’s convention this weekend. Wednesday’s speakers, including state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, and state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, made fiery attacks against the state's Republican leadership, accusing them of failing to listen to everyday voters."

Davis' GOP rival Greg Abbott, meanwhile, used the occasion of the one-year mark to tie Davis to abortion and to proclaim Davis out of touch with "Texas values."

The back-and-forth highlighted the tricky political terrain of abortion in Texas, where the Democrats' standard bearers are trailing their Republican rivals by double digits in recent polls. Walters noted that the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, Leticia Van de Putte, refrained from using the word "abortion" in her speech. She instead made the claim that abortion is not high on the list of voters' concerns. “What they’re asking [Davis] about on the campaign trail is things like education, water, roads,” she said in a pre-fundraiser interview.

The Day Ahead

•    The Texas Democratic Party officially kicks off its three-day state convention in Dallas with a meeting of the State Democratic Party Executive Committee and an evening reception.

•    Both major party candidates for governor — Democrat Wendy Davis and Republican Greg Abbott — are slated to address the Texas Classroom Teachers Association (TCTA) convention in Fort Worth. Davis speaks at 9:50 a.m. and Abbott speaks at 3 p.m.

•    The House Natural Resources Committee meets at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Extension to monitor implementation of stable, long-term funding for the state's water plan. (agenda)

Trib Must-Reads

Admissions Investigation Preceded By Years of Tension, by Reeve Hamilton

Texas Exams May Delay Graduation for Some in 2015, by Morgan Smith

Democrats Aim for Unity, Enthusiasm at State Convention, by John Reynolds

State Provided 2,000 Vaccines for Child Detainees, by Alexa Ura


Democrats say stars in Texas are bright enough for convention, Houston Chronicle

Chasnoff: Democratic convention offers Davis a second chance, San Antonio Express-News

Update: it’s Dallas v. Cleveland for 2016 GOP convention. Denver, Kansas City eliminated, The Dallas Morning News

Michael Quinn Sullivan refuses to testify at ethics hearing, Austin American-Statesman

Conservative groups spend millions, reap little, Politico

GOP calls to mend, not end, Ex-Im, The Hill

Hondurans find themselves back home after attempts to reach U.S., San Antonio Express-News

Texas county to look into immigrant burials, The Associated Press

Quote to Note

“On the advice of counsel, I’m not going to be testifying today.”

Michael Quinn Sullivan, choosing not to participate in a formal hearing conducted on Wednesday by the Texas Ethics Commission into a complaint that Sullivan failed to register a lobbyist in 2010 and 2011. Sullivan's attorney, Joe Nixon, said his client was the victim of a political vendetta by two of House Speaker Joe Straus' lieutenants.

Today in TribTalk

Border crisis is a test of Texans' faith, by C. Andrew Doyle

News From Home

Beginning Sunday, The Texas Tribune is launching "Hurting for Work," a four-day investigative series examining what happens when Texas workers get hurt or killed on the job. The stories reveal how disdain for government regulation in Texas sparked a "miracle" economy while tearing down protections for the workers who built it.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    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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Explore related story topics

Health care Politics Greg Abbott Senfronia Thompson Wendy Davis