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The Brief: Nov. 20, 2014

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte will run for mayor of her hometown of San Antonio, she confirmed Wednesday night.

Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor of Texas, Sen. Leticia VanDePutte D-San Antonio, smiles as she carries one of her grandsons during a campaign swing in Austin, Texas June 4th, 2014

The Big Conversation

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte will run for mayor of her hometown of San Antonio, she confirmed Wednesday night. Her action creates another vacancy in the San Antonio legislative delegation and will likely spur a contest among Democrats to move up a rung and take the Senate seat held by Van de Putte since 1999.

The Tribune's Alexa Ura wrote, "On Thursday, [Van de Putte] is expected to send a letter to Gov. Rick Perry declaring her intent to resign, giving Perry the ability to call a special election. To ensure Democrats don't have one fewer Senate member when the legislative session begins on Jan. 13, Van de Putte intends to only vacate her seat once the special election's winner is sworn in."

Van de Putte's entry into the mayoral race had long been expected and it most directly affects the plans of state Rep. Mike Villarreal, who is resigning his seat in the next Legislature in order to run full-time for mayor.

The San Antonio Express-News' Josh Baugh and John W. Gonzalez wrote, "Due in part to the speculation that [Van de Putte] would enter the race, big names in local politics have been wary of signing onto Villarreal’s bid, which began even before the council had settled on a temporary successor to [Julián] Castro. ... Absent from the list, and from the stage at Villarreal’s kickoff event, is the majority of his colleagues from the Bexar County delegation, a single former mayor or leader from the pinnacle of the local business community."

Van de Putte's Senate seat was not up for election this year and she instead ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor. Special elections now loom for both her Senate seat and Villarreal's House seat.

Ura wrote, "State Reps. Trey Martinez Fischer and José Menéndez both expressed interest last week in pursuing Van de Putte’s Senate seat if she were to step down. San Antonio City Councilman Diego Bernal and public relations consultant Melissa Aguillon have both set their sights on Villarreal’s seat."

The Day Ahead

•    Gov. Rick Perry is in West to take part in groundbreaking ceremonies to rebuild a gymnasium destroyed in the fertilizer explosion that devastated the town in April 2013. Perry, who will be joined by the Czech Republic's prime minister and ambassador to the U.S., will speak about 9:30 a.m.

Trib Must-Reads

For West Texas Job-Seekers, the Options are Endless, by Justin Dehn and Tamir Kalifa

DuPont Tragedy One of Many Toxic Gas Releases, by Neena Satija, Jim Malewitz and Marcos Vanetta

Report: EPA Power Plan Would Save Texas Water, by Jim Malewitz


Texas to 'wind down' National Guard deployment, Houston Chronicle

Texas prepared to fight Obama’s immigration order, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Fresh surge of migrants possible if news stirs hope, some predict, The Dallas Morning News

Education board seeks to end 'diversion' of textbook funds, Houston Chronicle

State investigator files whistleblower suit over CPS investigation, Austin American-Statesman

Business group wants universities’ funding linked to graduation rates, Austin American-Statesman

Conaway: Ready to work on next farm bill, immigration, Politico

Retailers up the pressure on online sales tax, The Hill

Why Voter ID Laws Don’t Swing Many Elections, The New York Times

Quote to Note

“My framework for the decision didn’t have Mike Villarreal as a variable. I’m not running against Mike — I’m running to be mayor.”

— Newly minted San Antonio mayoral candidate Leticia Van de Putte on not telling her legislative colleague, who is also a mayoral candidate, of her plans to run

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With Reps. Myra Crownover, Tan Parker and Ron Simmons on Dec. 1 at Texas Woman's University in Denton

•    A Conversation With Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Dec. 4 at The Austin Club

•    The Texas Tribune Festival presents a one-day symposium previewing the 84th Legislature on Dec. 5 at the Austin Community College Highland Campus in Austin

•    A Panel Discussion on the Transformation of Medical Education in Texas, on Dec. 9 at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio.

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Energy Environment Health care Politics Public education Mike Conaway Rick Perry Trey Martinez Fischer