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The Brief: Oct. 8, 2014

GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott's $30 million campaign chest has captured a lot of attention, leading to the next question: why raise all that cash?

Attorney General Greg Abbott in his second and final gubernatorial debate with state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth in Dalla…

The Big Conversation

Is it too early to be talking about 2018?

GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott's $30 million campaign war chest has captured a lot of attention in the race for the Governor's Mansion as the contest heads into the final month, including some not unexpected Brewster's Millions cracks. It's pretty obvious that Abbott can't spend it all before Election Day, leading to the next question: why raise all that cash?

The Austin American-Statesman's Jonathan Tilove offers this explanation: he's sending a message to those thinking about entering the field four years from now. “It’s a war chest against future opponents,” Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson told Tilove. “He wants to roll it over into his first term as governor as a talisman against future opponents. Imagine if you were one of the Castro brothers, or (U.S Rep.) Pete Gallego — who was going to think about taking him on in 2018 — and you knew that he had that $30 million building toward $50 million before the race even begins.”

The target of this cash juggernaut, of course, may not be a Democrat at all, but rather GOP lieutenant governor candidate Dan Patrick, who as Tilove writes, "would like to be governor someday."

The Day Ahead

•    GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott will campaign with former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, making an 11:30 a.m. stop at a women's lunch in Austin and a 4 p.m. business meet and greet in Dallas.

•    The House Select Committee on Transportation Funding, Expenditures & Finance meets at 9 a.m. in the Capitol Extension to discuss the Rainy Day Fund and new options for funding transportation projects. (agenda)

•    The House Corrections and Public Education Committees hold a joint hearing at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Extension to look again at school discipline programs. (agenda) The two panels hold separate hearings in the Capitol Extension at 1 p.m. House Corrections will look at the Juvenile Justice Department (agenda) while Public Education will continue the task of monitoring the implementation of HB 5 (agenda).

•    The House Defense & Veterans' Affairs Committee meets at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Extension to discuss interim charges to look at ways to help homeless veterans and to support veterans seeking higher education. (agenda)

•    Two joint legislative committees also have hearings scheduled in the Capitol Extension — the panel on the Texas Lottery meets at 11 a.m. to discuss charitable bingo and the possible elimination of the state lottery (agenda) and the panel on the recruitment of firearms manufacturers meets at 2 p.m. to look at ways to provide further incentives for those manufacturers to relocate to Texas. (agenda)

Trib Must-Reads

Analysis: In 2014 Campaigns, President's Shadow Looms, by Ross Ramsey

Debates Few and Far Between Among Statewide Races, by Aman Batheja

UT System Overhauls Salary and Debt Tool, by Reeve Hamilton

Lawmakers Question "Breakdown" in Ebola Case, by Neena Satija

Elsewhere

Texas officials cautiously optimistic on handling future Ebola cases, Houston Chronicle

Dallas County officials defend their Ebola response, The Dallas Morning News

This Texas Judge Is Fighting Fear and Ebola in Dallas, TIME

Frivolous spending and cover-ups alleged in Texas gubernatorial race, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Rick Perry's balancing act, Houston Chronicle

Republicans brace for 2016 free-for-all, Politico

As Texas SAT scores hit a low point, some ask: Are reforms working?, Austin American-Statesman

Hearing continues in Tiguas gaming case, state seeks shutdown of Speaking Rock, El Paso Times

Reversing the Flow of Oil, The New York Times

Quote to Note

“If you saw the debates with Wendy and Abbott, they both talked about how crooked the other one is and they both got it right.”

— Democratic agriculture commissioner candidate Jim Hogan on why he thinks candidate debates have no value for voters. He will practice what he preaches — he has not called for a debate in his race.

Today in TribTalk

The real crisis in Texas isn't Ebola, by Bill Hobby

Trib Events for the Calendar

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

•    A Conversation With state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, and state Rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, on Oct. 22 at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches

•    A Conversation With Railroad Commission Candidates Steve Brown and Ryan Sitton, on Oct. 30 at The Austin Club in Austin

•    A One-Day Symposium on the Impact of the Shale Boom on Oct. 31 at the University of Texas San Antonio

•    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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