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The Brief: Sept. 10, 2014

State Rep. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, a Tea Party favorite, cruised to an outright win on Tuesday night in the special election to fill the West Texas Senate seat formerly held by Robert Duncan.

Tourists enter the empty Senate chamber Wednesday morning as the Texas Senate adjourned sine die the day before, leaving the House with unfinished business on June 29, 2011.

The Big Conversation

State Rep. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, a Tea Party favorite, cruised to an outright win on Tuesday night in the special election to fill the West Texas Senate seat formerly held by Robert Duncan. Perry was able to avoid a runoff by winning 53 percent of the vote, reported the Tribune's Bobby Blanchard. The next closest in the six-candidate field was former George W. Bush aide Jodey Arrington, who garnered 30 percent of the vote.

"Nearly two-thirds of votes cast in the election were made during early voting," Blanchard wrote. "Slightly more than half of the votes cast came from Lubbock County. Perry won 54.6 percent of the vote in his home county. Of the district's 51 counties, Perry broke 50 percent in 42 of them."

Of perhaps more significance to the state, this marked the second Senate special election taken in the past month by a Tea Party-aligned House member for a seat that had been held by a more moderate incumbent. Conroe Republican Brandon Creighton won a special election runoff in early August to fill the seat left vacant by the departure of Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands.

The arrival of Creighton and Perry further shift the partisan alignment in the Senate to the right. To be sure, the trend was already established with the arrival of conservatives such as Brian Birdwell, Donna Campbell and Larry Taylor. That movement to the right only accelerated with the primary losses this year by incumbents John Carona and Bob Deuell to challengers who ran at them from the right.

The Day Ahead

•    Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa and Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri drop by the Austin Club for a TribLive conversation. For those unable to make it, we will livestream the event at 8 a.m.

•    Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott is in Houston at 1:30 p.m. to unveil a set of policy proposals aimed at improving access to quality healthcare.

•    The House Select Committee on Child Protection meets at 10 a.m. in the John H. Reagan Building to take testimony from Sunset staff and from agencies helping support ongoing efforts at the border. (agenda)

Trib Must-Reads

Despite Huge Warchest, Abbott Still Fundraising, by Jay Root

Willie Wayne Trottie Faces Execution, by Terri Langford and Bobby Blanchard

Analysis: New Think Tank Taking a DIY Approach, by Ross Ramsey


Wendy Davis seeks to rouse dormant Democratic giant in Texas, MSNBC

Cruz injects border into budget fight, The Hill

Patrick adopts stealth strategy for lieutenant gov race, San Antonio Express-News

David Dewhurst asks for TWIA review, Austin American-Statesman

DPS official’s emails questioned in voter ID trial, Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Gay-marriage ban defies logic, Texas couples argue, Austin American-Statesman

Outside groups launch $8M campaign to boost House GOP, The Hill

House Republicans look to extend Ex-Im Bank through mid-2015: aide, Reuters

Quote to Note

“Our package didn't have any state incentives. It was San Antonio vs. Nevada, the entire state.”

— Mario Hernandez, head of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, detailing in a memo obtained by the San Antonio Express-News the headwinds faced by his city in trying to land the Tesla battery "gigafactory" that eventually went to Nevada

Today in TribTalk

Ray Rice is the tip of the iceberg, by Jeff Temple

Lawmakers must reduce CPS caseloads to protect kids, by Ashley Harris

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    The full program has been announced for the 2014 Texas Tribune Festival, Sept. 19-21.

Students at the Fest: Check out the full #TTFstudents program at the Tribune Festival featuring exclusive events, a private lounge and more. Register for just $50, or volunteer and attend for free!

•    A Conversation With U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, on Sept. 24 at the UTSA Downtown Campus in San Antonio.

•    A Conversation With Kathie Glass, 2014 Libertarian Nominee for Governor, on Oct. 2 at The Austin Club

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Explore related story topics

Politics Brandon Creighton Dan Patrick David Dewhurst Greg Abbott Ted Cruz Wendy Davis