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The Brief: Oct. 24, 2014

Two Texans — Ted Cruz and Rick Perry — are now the preferred GOP candidates for president in the Lone Star State, according to a new poll from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune.

U.S. Sen Ted Cruz and Gov. Rick Perry at Fort Hood on April 4, 2014.

The Big Conversation

Two Texans — Ted Cruz and Rick Perry — are now the preferred GOP candidates for president in the Lone Star State, according to a new poll from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune.

Cruz leads as the preferred candidate of 27 percent of the survey's respondents. Perry trailed significantly with 14 percent. Grassroots conservative favorite Ben Carson was at 10 percent. Perry is far behind Cruz, but as the Tribune's Ross Ramsey writes, the Texas governor has done a lot to improve his position.

As recently as the June version of the UT/TT poll, "Perry was running fourth, with 7 percent, while Cruz was way out in front with 33 percent of the respondents at his side. A year ago, Cruz had a 3-to-1-lead over the governor.

“'Rick Perry’s political instincts about how to respond to law and order at the border are still pretty good,' said Jim Henson, co-director of the poll and director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. 'Everyone else is milling around in the middle of the pack.'”

Things are a bit more straightforward on the Democratic side of the ballot. Hillary Clinton is the clear front-runner for the nomination, preferred by 60 percent of the respondents. Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden trail badly, at 13 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Disclosure: UT-Austin is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

The Day Ahead

•    The major party candidates for the U.S. Senate — Republican incumbent John Cornyn and Democratic challenger David Alameel — meet in Dallas for a 7 p.m. debate at the Mountain View College Performance Hall. The Tribune will livestream the encounter, as will the debate host, KUVN Univision 23.

•    The House Agriculture & Livestock and Culture, Recreation & Tourism committees hold a joint hearing at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Extension to take testimony on the state's ongoing feral hog problem. (agenda)

•    Today is the last day to submit an application for a mail-in ballot for the Nov. 4 general election.

Trib Must-Reads

Analysis: A Missing Piece in the Voter ID Debate, by Ross Ramsey

Texas Takes Last Pass At Social Studies Textbooks, by Morgan Smith

In TV Airtime, a Candidate Looks Invincible, by Christine Ayala and Bobby Blanchard

Straus Says Fix, Don't Ditch, Enterprise Fund, by Christine Ayala

Ebola Task Force Director: "This is the New Normal", by Reeve Hamilton

Elsewhere

Nearly a half-million Texans cast ballots, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Record number opting for mail ballots, San Antonio Express-News

Early voting numbers for El Paso County spur conflicting interpretations, El Paso Times

Transgender inmate's lawsuit accuses state of not protecting her from attacks, Houston Chronicle

RGV tops immigrant deaths across border, but overall level hits 15-year low, The Associated Press

Ebola Vaccine, Ready for Test, Sat on the Shelf, The New York Times

Mayor: New York doctor has Ebola, 1st in city, The Associated Press

University Park home dons Ebola-themed decorations for Halloween, The Dallas Morning News

Quote to Note

“If Democrats ever thought that Texans as a whole were going to embrace progressivism, they were kidding themselves.”

— Southern Methodist University political science professor Matthew Wilson, on the uphill climb facing Democrats on Nov. 4

Today in TribTalk

Why aren't we talking about health care?, by Ken Janda

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    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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