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Perry and Cruz Will Share Stage in "Protest" Debate

The Aug. 3 forum in New Hampshire takes place three days before the first debate sanctioned by national Republicans to be televised by Fox News.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Rick Perry and state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, are shown at a press conference at Fort H...

The first presidential debate sanctioned by national Republicans is not until Aug. 6, but the two White House hopefuls from Texas have nonetheless agreed to share a stage three days beforehand.

Both U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and former Gov. Rick Perry will participate in a forum Aug. 3 in New Hampshire hosted by the early-voting state's largest newspaper, according to their campaigns. Organizers of the event are branding it as a kind of protest of the Aug. 6 debate, which Granite State Republicans have criticized as too exclusionary.

To qualify for the Aug. 6 debate, which Fox News is hosting in Ohio, candidates need to be polling in the top 10 of an average of the five most recent national surveys. On Wednesday, Cruz's spot on the stage appeared secure, while Perry's prospects looked less certain.

The two will nonetheless have a chance to practice their debate skills at the Aug. 3 event, which is being sponsored by the New Hampshire Union Leader and other early-voting state newspapers. So far, at least a half dozen other candidates have RSVPed.

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Texas' chamber of commerce is calling on Cruz to "put constituents ahead of politics" and support the reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, whose charter expired at the end of June.

Cruz and other conservatives said at a news conference this week that they could block a highway funding bill if the bank's reauthorization is added onto the bill.

"I am willing to use any and all procedural tools to stop this corporate welfare, this corruption from being propagated," Cruz said, according to the Tribune’s Abby Livingston.

But the Texas Association of Businesses and Texas Association of Manufacturers criticized Cruz's stance in a statement, noting that the bank "supports over 135,000 Texas jobs and over $21 million in state exports."

“Texas exports more than any other state for a reason: We have the best workers and businesses," the groups said. "And our businesses rely on a host of tools to continue growing and hiring, including the Export-Import Bank. Senator Ted Cruz has failed to understand that and chooses, again and again, to put politics ahead of economic progress and payrolls for his constituents.”

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Two candidates for Houston mayor — Bill King and Sylvester Turner — released further information on their fundraising activity being reported on their July semiannual reports.

In the case of King, he gave the press a look at his report, which confirms that he lent his campaign $500,000 over the first six months of the year. A $100,000 loan was made Jan. 12, followed by one for $150,000 on June 4 and $250,000 on June 25.

As he announced earlier, King also raised roughly $750,000 from about 600 donations over the same period.

Turner, meanwhile, announced that he has a little more than $1.1 million in cash on hand after raising more than $760,000 in the nine days after the fundraising blackout on state officials ended.

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Julián Castro was hit with a $5,000 fine from the Texas Ethics Commission over errors in several of his campaign finance reports.

Castro, who’s now secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, misreported some items in reports stretching from 2011 to 2013, according to a recent order from the TEC. But the commission did not agree with allegations that Castro “converted political contributions to personal use” and accepted corporate donations.

The Texas Ethics Advisory Board, a conservative group, brought the complaint against Castro.

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