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The Brief: Sept. 4, 2015

Ted Cruz was back on his home turf of Texas on Thursday for a quick one-day visit, and he came with a message for other GOP presidential hopefuls.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a 2016 presidential candidate, speaking at the RedState Gathering in Atlanta on Aug. 8, 2015.

The Big Conversation

Ted Cruz was back on his home turf of Texas on Thursday for a quick one-day visit, and he came with a message for other GOP presidential hopefuls.

"We’ve got a tremendous base of support here, and so they may discover a difficult path," Cruz said at a "This is #CruzCountry Rally" in Fort Worth. As the Tribune's Patrick Svitek reported, other candidates have not been hesitant to enter the state to raise money and make other inroads in the nation's biggest red state.

Svitek wrote, "While many candidates have turned to the state to fill their campaign coffers, their 'fundraising has not yielded a whole lot of results,' Cruz said. He went on to repeat his increasingly common boast that his campaign has reported raising nearly six times the amount of money from Texas than the campaign of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush."

Cruz was also news in Washington, D.C., where the Tribune's Abby Livingston reports on the speculation that the junior Texas Senator could instigate another government showdown, this time over federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

She writes:

Republican congressional leaders have insisted that a shutdown will not happen. But many on Capitol Hill are skeptical, drawing parallels to 2013, when the unsuccessful efforts of Cruz and other conservatives to defund the 2010 federal health care law helped lead to a 16-day shutdown.

The key difference this time? Cruz has an even bigger stage.


Some Republicans fear Cruz will use his Senate post to steal back some of the limelight, setting off fireworks in Congress in the fall to endear himself to presidential primary voters. Taking such a public stand on Planned Parenthood presents an opportunity to court the evangelical vote – a group on which Cruz is spending much of his political energy. 

Disclosure: Planned Parenthood was a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune in 2011. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Trib Must-Reads

Troopers Ticketing Fewer Overall, but More Hispanics, by Alexa Ura and Terri Langford – State troopers are writing far fewer traffic tickets now than five years ago, but an increasing share of them are being issued to Hispanic drivers, a Tribune analysis of state data shows. The Texas Department of Public Safety says it can't explain why that's happening.

Workers' Comp Insurer Fined $250,000, by Neena Satija – For years, Crystal Davis battled an insurance company for workers' compensation benefits after her husband was killed on the job. As a result of her struggles, the state has slapped ACE American Insurance Company with a $250,000 fine, apparently the largest ever levied.

Gov. Abbott to Visit Mexico, Meet With President, by Madlin Mekelburg – Gov. Greg Abbott will travel to Mexico City next week to meet with Mexican officials to discuss the economic ties between Texas and Mexico. The visit marks Abbott's first international trip as governor.

Judge Will Hear Birth Certificate Case Next Month, by Julián Aguilar – A coalition of undocumented immigrants whose U.S. citizen children have been denied birth certificates in Texas will have its case heard in federal court early next month.

The Day Ahead

•    Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith holds a breakfast talk with Austin Mayor Steve Adler and San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor. The 8 a.m. conversation at the Austin Club will be livestreamed for those unable to attend in person.

•    Gov. Greg Abbott will lead an economic and cultural delegation to Mexico from Sept. 6-8 in a trip intended to bolster economic and cultural ties.

•    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will make a presidential campaign stop in Midland.


Democrat lashes cuts to disabled kids’ therapy, The Dallas Morning News

Perry says foundering presidential campaign is making corrections, The Dallas Morning News

Texas AG makes first post-indictment campaign appearance, The Associated Press

Ken Paxton gets extra week to hire lawyer, Austin American-Statesman

New state law clears thousands of criminal records for truancy, Austin American-Statesman

Candidates Respond to Kim Davis Case With Varying Intensity, The New York Times

Cruz sides 'unequivocally' with Kentucky clerk who denies marriage licenses to gays, Houston Chronicle

Ted Cruz rallies Texans to back presidential bid, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Quote to Note

“You know, a broken clock is right once a day. The bottom line is I’m still here and I’m still workin’ and we need to be talkin’ about solutions and not just rhetoric out there.”

Rick Perry, in response to Donald Trump's claim that he is leaving the presidential race

News From Home

•     The latest episode of The Ticket, a co-production of the Tribune and KUT is out. The Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott discuss one of the only GOP presidential candidates who's survived the Summer of Trump: Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, and they talk to Texas activist JoAnn Fleming about Cruz's rise to prominence on the national stage.

Today in TribTalk

How would Texas respond to a 2015 Katrina?, by Eduardo Sanchez and Herminia Palacio — While there is no question that Hurricane Katrina’s effect on the people of Louisiana was devastating and will be long-lasting, the people of Texas should look back and be proud of how they were good neighbors. But given the well-documented decreases in funding and staffing at state and local health departments in the years since, are we prepared to be as hospitable in the future?

Trib Events for the Calendar

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

•    A Conversation with UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves on Sept. 21 in Austin

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

•    A Conversation on God & Governing on Oct. 7 in Austin

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

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