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The Brief: June 30, 2014

Did Wendy Davis peak with the filibuster?

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

The Big Conversation

Did Wendy Davis peak with the filibuster? The New York Times' Manny Fernandez addressed that uncomfortable question in a piece over the weekend that quoted an unnamed party strategist who had spent time early in the Davis campaign as saying, "It’s gotten away from them, where it really probably is impossible to bring it back."

When asked by reporters on Saturday morning at the Democratic state convention in Dallas, Davis termed that kind of speculation "absurd." She then said she would have the resources she needs to run well in Texas. And besides that, she had the boots on the ground — 18,000 volunteers by June — that the campaign of Republican Greg Abbott would never match.

Fernandez also quoted former Democratic land commissioner and 1998 gubernatorial nominee Garry Mauro, who said, “Nobody with $20 million is irrelevant.”

But Fernandez also cited one devastating anecdote that summed up a campaign that has made a bunch of unforced errors. For her speech Wednesday in Austin commemorating the anniversary of her filibuster of an abortion restrictions bill, Davis made sure to wear the pink running shoes that she made famous that day:

But even her supporters say the campaign has made many missteps, large and small. How it handled those running shoes was but one of them.

It was the sort of visual symbolic detail that campaigns carefully orchestrate for maximum impact. But some of the reporters present on Wednesday, kept at a distance at an event that did not include a news conference, were unaware she was wearing the sneakers and failed to note that detail in their coverage.

The Day Ahead

•    The joint legislative committee on water desalination meets at 11 a.m. in Wichita Falls to discuss brackish water desalination. (agenda)

•    The House Land & Resource Management Committee meets at 9 a.m. in the Capitol Extension to discuss municipalities' authority in their extraterritorial jurisdiction. (agenda)

Trib Must-Reads

After Catastrophic Fall, the Fight of One Worker's Life, by Jay Root

Analysis: Campaign Money as a Show of Political Health, by Ross Ramsey

Elsewhere

Split focus for Texas Democrats on display at convention, The Dallas Morning News

Fikac: 'Sisters' atop Dem ticket may be stronger together, San Antonio Express-News

Perry: on immigration crisis in South Texas, McAllen Monitor

Boom Meets Bust in Texas: Atop Sea of Oil, Poverty Digs In, The New York Times

Push to privatize troubled hospital could hide problems from view, Austin American-Statesman

Company that sued school districts over taxes wants another break, Houston Chronicle

Drought-stricken Wichita Falls gets state's OK to reuse wastewater, The Associated Press

Medical Boards Draft Plan to Ease Path to Out-of-State and Online Treatment, The New York Times

Quote to Note

"I think you could really say it’s in a place where it’s gotten away from them, where it really probably is impossible to bring it back. ... The campaign has never been as good as Wendy is."

— An unnamed Democratic strategist to The New York Times on perceived difficulties in the Wendy Davis campaign for governor

Today in TribTalk

A workers' comp system that works for Texas, by Rod Bordelon

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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