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The Brief: Sept. 29, 2014

Dan Patrick and Leticia Van de Putte meet tonight for what's expected to be the only debate between the major party nominees for lieutenant governor.

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The Big Conversation

Dan Patrick and Leticia Van de Putte meet tonight for what's expected to be the only debate between the major party nominees for lieutenant governor. The encounter — to be moderated by the Tribune's Ross Ramsey — is set for 7 p.m. at KLRU studios in Austin, and will be livestreamed at texastribune.org.

The encounter is important for both candidates, with the stakes perhaps bigger for Van de Putte, who has been seeking a forum in which she can stand alongside Patrick to better contrast their positions on immigration, education and other issues. This is likely her one chance to do so before voters head to the polls, beginning on Oct. 20 with early voting.

Patrick, meanwhile, faces the challenge common to front runners of avoiding the gaffe that could turn the race into a more competitive one. So far this general election season, he's executed the political equivalent of a four corners strategy — staying largely out of sight in recent months in an attempt to keep the ball out of his opponent's hands.

People who know Patrick well, though, discount talk that he'll play it safe in the televised encounter.

Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack told David Saleh Rauf of the San Antonio Express-News that “he will be Dan Patrick. He will not play it safe. I mean, Dan Patrick is not the kind of person who's just going to sit back and be mellow when he's got a very strong opinion.”

Watch at texastribune.org or click here for a list of TV stations airing the debate, either live, streamed or on a delay.

The Day Ahead

•    The House Environmental Regulation Committee meets at 1:30 p.m. in the Capitol Extension to take a look at the new proposed EPA plan on carbon emissions reductions. (agenda)

•    U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, will appear at a fundraiser on behalf of GOP attorney general candiate Ken Paxton in Allen.

Trib Must-Reads

In Stick's DWI Case, Perry Critics See Double Standard, by Christine Ayala and Jay Root

Debating What's More Sacred: Private Land or Public Beaches, by Neena Satija

Abbott Rulings an Issue in Enterprise Fund Controversy, by Jay Root

Analysis: Getting Legislative Permission to Do Business, by Ross Ramsey

Elsewhere

Abbott kept dealings of Texas Enterprise Fund under wraps, The Dallas Morning News

Fikac: Perry prospects no longer just about the 'oops', San Antonio Express-News

House District 94 is ‘a key race to watch’ in November, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Trio of GOP prospects urge midterm turnout in Iowa, The Associated Press

GOP divided over oil export ban, Politico

House Hopefuls in G.O.P. Seek Rightward Shift, The New York Times

Texas horse, dog tracks not racing to get new gambling machines, The Dallas Morning News

Vexed by earthquakes, Texas calls in a scientist, Houston Chronicle

Quote to Note

“It might get someone in Dallas or Fort Worth all aflutter, but it doesn't bother anyone in West Texas.”

— Former Midland County District Attorney Al Schorre on the concerns raised back home about county Sheriff Gary Painter's warnings of Muslim terrorists crossing the border into Texas

Today in TribTalk

Real immigration reform starts with more visas, by Daniel M. Kowalski

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Panel Discussion on Demographic Change and the Digital Divide, on Sept. 30 at LBJ School of Public Affairs in Austin

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

•    A Panel Discussion on Changing Population, Changing Health Care, on Oct. 6 at Rice University's Baker Institute in Houston

•    A Conversation With Sam Houston, 2014 Democratic Nominee for Attorney General, on Oct. 16 at The Austin Club

•    A Live Post-Election TribCast, featuring Tribune editors and reporters on the election results, on Nov. 5 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation With Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick on Nov. 6 at The Austin Club

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