The Brief: Aug. 25, 2015

The lieutenant governor changes his mind on endorsing in open Senate primaries following his decision to back six GOP incumbents for re-election late last week.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick at a Texas Tribune event on June 4, 2015.

The Big Conversation

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is endorsing Bryan Hughes in the open GOP Senate primary to find a successor to Kevin Eltife.

Patrick, as the Tribune's Ross Ramsey reports, has already agreed to headline a couple of fundraisers for the Mineola Republican — one next Tuesday in Austin and one at a later date in Tyler. Hughes and fellow state Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, are both running for the party nomination for the East Texas Senate seat and others might jump in at some point.

Prior to now, the Patrick camp wouldn't call the lieutenant governor's backing of Hughes an endorsement. He had previously promised not to endorse in competitive primaries for open Senate seats.

But late last week, Patrick announced he was endorsing six Republican incumbents for re-election and he followed that up with today's endorsement in an open primary.

There is one other open Senate seat, the one anchored in Central Texas that is being vacated by Troy Fraser. Multiple candidates have already jumped into that race but there is no indication yet whether Patrick will issue an endorsement in that contest.

Trib Must-Reads

Abbott Withholding Records With Paxton's Blessing, by Jay Root — Is Gov. Greg Abbott a "member of the public," even when he's discussing government business? That's what he's arguing in order to keep his email address private. Those and other arguments in favor of government secrecy are leaving the public less and less informed, transparency experts say.

Analysis: Election Managers Partying Like It's 2012, by Ross Ramsey — Federal judges are deciding two major Texas election law cases. One in particular — over the political maps for state House and congressional districts — has officials thinking about 2012, when the courts delayed the primary elections.

Baylor May Face Legal Fallout from Rape Case, by Matthew Watkins — Baylor University's lawyers reportedly were in the courtroom during most of football player Sam Ukwuachu's rape trial last week. Now that he's been convicted, the school faces the possibility of lawsuits and federal scrutiny.

Study Finds Childhood Obesity Program Failed, by Edgar Walters — A four-year, $37 million state program to improve physical education at high-poverty middle schools failed to reduce obesity rates, according to a study by the University of Texas at Austin.

Jeb Bush Gets Testy Over "Anchor Baby" Questions, by Patrick Svitek — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Monday visited the Rio Grande Valley, wading deeper into an immigration debate roiling the 2016 presidential race.

Austin Sues Texas Over "Unequal" Appraisal System, by Aman Batheja — The city of Austin filed a lawsuit Monday against the state of Texas charging that the current property appraisal system is unconstitutional and creates “an imbalance in the tax burdens between residential and commercial property owners.”

Perry Loses Iowa Campaign Chairman, by Abby Livingston — The top Iowa Republican behind Rick Perry's presidential campaign announced Monday that he was leaving the operation.

Today's 31 Days, 31 Ways Story

Animation: Texas to Crack Down on Synthetic Marijuana, by Ally Mutnick and Todd Wiseman — Starting Sept. 1, a new law will ban 1,000 possible chemical compounds of synthetic marijuana and make it a lot harder for Texans to buy or sell the drug.

Elsewhere

Oil's fresh fall signals tipping point for the industry, Houston Chronicle

Abbott on Paxton: Legal process needs to work its course, San Antonio Express-News

In SC, Cruz, Carson, Walker Fight to Stand Out Among GOP, The Associated Press

Rick Perry Tries to Break Out by Attacking Pretty Much Everybody, Bloomberg

In first radio ad, HERO opponents press bathroom issue with women voters, Houston Chronicle

Garnet Coleman cites racial disparities in DPS stops, Austin American-Statesman

Alamo library dispute heats up, San Antonio Express-News

Quote to Note

"I think we need to take a step back and chill out a little bit as it relates to the political correctness that somehow you have to be scolded every time you say something."

— GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush, showing frustration at a campaign stop in McAllen on Monday after reporters questioned him on his use of the term "anchor babies," which he claimed was not a derogatory term

Trib Events for the Calendar

•      The Texas Tribune's Trivia Night on Aug. 30 in Austin 

•      A Conversation with Austin Mayor Steve Adler and San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor on Sept. 4 in Austin

•      The Ticket: A Live Recording and GOP Primary Debate Watch Party on Sept. 16 in Austin

•      A Conversation on The Road from Hurricane Rita on Sept. 22 in Beaumont

•      The Texas Tribune Festival on Oct. 16-18 at the University of Texas at Austin

Quality journalism doesn't come free

Yes, I'll donate today