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U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer Will Not Run for Re-Election

Also, Ted Cruz pays homage to The Gipper with a new TV campaign ad, Carly Fiorina is coming to Texas and how Don Huffines scored that prime seat at the GOP debate.

U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Lubbock

Congressman Randy Neugebauer, R-Lubbock, has decided not to seek re-election next year, opening up a contest for the safely Republican Congressional District 19.

Neugebauer, who was first elected in June 2003, denied on Thursday that health concerns — he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009 — were behind his decision to step down.

"I feel great and I am cancer free," he said. "The bottom line is that I really think this is the right time for my family and me to have more time together."

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With a new ad, Ted Cruz's campaign is paying homage to one of his political idols: Ronald Reagan. And the spot arrived just in time for the Republican presidential debate staged at the former president's namesake library.

The 30-second spot pays homage to a well-known ad run by Reagan in his 1984 campaign for the White House. Reagan's spot used a bear to represent threats from abroad, driving home the former president's message of peace through strength.

Cruz's rendition features a scorpion lurking in the desert as a sign of the threat of what the senator calls "radical Islamic terrorism." At the end of the ad, a person presumed to be Cruz approaches the scorpion, causing it to shy away. 

According to Cruz's campaign, the ad aired during the Wednesday night debate on CNN and post-debate coverage on Fox News in the first four early voting states: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. The ad buy cost $33,000 in total.

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Carly Fiorina, viewed as one of the big winners of the second GOP presidential debate Wednesday, has her sights set on Texas.

Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, is planning a trip to the state from Sept. 27-29, according to her calendar. Her campaign said Thursday it is still working out the details of the swing.

Fiorina, who was born in Austin, last brought her 2016 campaign to Texas in July, when she had a day of public events in the Dallas area.

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Houston Mayor Annise Parker is hitting the campaign trail for Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

Parker will headline a breakfast for the former secretary of state Saturday in Charleston, S.C., according to Clinton's campaign. Parker will talk about why "Clinton is the candidate who will fight for women, children and their families," the campaign said Thursday.

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Clinton, meanwhile, is scaling back a trip next week to Texas.

The former secretary of state is no longer holding a public event Sept. 22 in Dallas, her campaign said Tuesday, citing a scheduling conflict. She is still scheduled to visit the city that day for a fundraiser.

In any case, Clinton's swing through Dallas will mark her third trip to Texas as a 2016 candidate. She first came to the state in June for a two-day tour that included a speech in Houston on voting rights. She returned to Texas in August for a fundraiser in McAllen.

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And Cruz wasn’t Texas’ only tie to Wednesday’s GOP presidential debate. Southern Methodist University’s Rita Kirk, a professor of communication studies and director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility, worked behind the scenes to gauge the reactions of undecided voters.

For every CNN-hosted primary debate, Kirk hosts a focus group made up of undecided voters to look at “intensity of opinion” on issues brought up in the debate.

Kirk was in Des Moines, Iowa, to study the reactions of 30 self-identified Republican and Republican-leaning, independent voters.

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Many who watched the GOP presidential debate on Wednesday night were left wondering how state Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, scored that prime seat behind moderator Jake Tapper.

Huffines told Texas Weekly that he got his ticket from candidate Rand Paul, whom Huffines is supporting, and that he was sitting with Paul’s wife. He said, “It was very exciting. It was an honor to be there and be a part of history.”

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