The Big Conversation
The GOP presidential candidates sprung what might be the most unexpected development during Thursday night’s debate in Miami — a mostly tame encounter that focused on the issues.
"We're all in this together. We're going to come up with solutions," billionaire front-runner Donald Trump said in a statement sure to be repeated over and over in video recaps of the encounter. "We're going to find the answers to things. And so far I cannot believe how civil it's been up here."
The Tribune’s Abby Livingston wrote, “Trump is widely blamed for the devolving tone in this cycle's debates. But without his mixture of testosterone and acid, the debate resembled the approaches of past cycles. Even so, (Texas Sen. Ted) Cruz did needle Trump — but in a more subtle manner than in more recent debates.”
The GOP nominating contest takes a turn on Tuesday with the first winner-take-all contests in Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina. Livingston noted that Thursday’s debate “offered a glimpse of the coming one-on-one fight between the (Trump and Cruz) that many in politics are anticipating.”
And while Florida Sen. Marco Rubio turned in a strong performance ahead of a must-win contest in his home state, Livingston wrote that “it is probably too late for the senator.”
Trib Must Reads
Despite National Attention, Latina's Campaign Fell Short, by Abby Livingston — In South Texas, a candidate named Dolly Elizondo had a chance to make history as the first Latina from Texas to serve in Congress. Those involving say she struggled to translate national interest into sufficient local support.
Texas Railroad Commission Hopeful Unclear on Agency's Duties, by Jim Malewitz — Wayne Christian, a candidate for Texas railroad commissioner, frequently touts his energy expertise. But he did not know one of the agency’s key duties — regulating natural gas utilities — until a reporter told him.
Analysis: What Might Be Next in Texas Politics, by Ross Ramsey — Elections always raise obvious questions, like "Who'll be the next president?" and less obvious ones, like "Who would replace a U.S. senator from Texas if he won the presidential election?"
Hugh Shine Wins Recount Over Molly White, by Jamie Lovegrove — Challenger Hugh Shine secured victory Thursday in the Republican primary for Texas House District 55, defeating incumbent state Rep. Molly White by 104 votes after a recount, according to Bell County GOP chairwoman Nancy Boston.
Religious Liberty Champion Joins Paxton's Team, by Morgan Smith — Jeff Mateer, tapped by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Wednesday to be the state's first assistant attorney amid a staffing shakeup, has built his career as a tenacious champion of religious expression in the public square.
Whitmire: Assault Rifle Used in Office Shooting, by Julián Aguilar — State Sen. John Whitmire said Thursday afternoon he believes the gun used in the predawn shooting of his Houston area-office was likely an AR-15 assault rifle. He said it's too early to speculate about a motive or possible suspect.
New Houston Hurricane Plan Stirs the Pot, by Kiah Collier — A new proposal to protect the Houston area from hurricanes is reigniting controversy — and potentially diminishing the odds that a consensus will emerge anytime soon on the best plan to safeguard the nation's fifth-largest metropolitan area.
Mike Lee Gives Ted Cruz First U.S. Senate Endorsement, by Patrick Svitek — U.S. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah on Thursday announced his support for Ted Cruz for president, giving Cruz his first endorsement from a colleague in the upper chamber.
Mayors Hold Taco Summit to End Austin-San Antonio Feud, by Jamie Lovegrove — With an escalating culinary battle threatening to destabilize the region, the mayors of Austin and San Antonio met Thursday morning to announce a taco truce.
Texas Supreme Court Asked to Weigh in on Austin's fight with Uber, by Madlin Mekelburg — An Austin resident, supported by Uber, has asked the Texas Supreme Court to weigh in on the ballot language for a measure related to vehicle-for-hire companies scheduled to come before voters on May 7.
Miller Insists He's Fighting, Not Boosting, Childhood Obesity, by Jim Malewitz — Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller pushed back Thursday against those who say his policies encourage kids to eat unhealthily. "We are aggressively going after childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes," Miller said.
Former Assistant Attorney General Joins Pro-Ted Cruz Super PAC, by Patrick Svitek — Chip Roy, the former first assistant attorney general of Texas, has joined a super PAC supporting the presidential campaign of his old boss, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
The Day Ahead
• The Tribune's CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith sits down with President Barack Obama for a conversation about civic engagement in a digital age at the Long Center. The conversation begins at 2:30 p.m. and will be live streamed for those unable to attend.
• Gov. Greg Abbott will present the Texas Purple Heart Medals to victims of the 2009 Fort Hood terror attack at the Kileen Civic and Conference Center in Kileen at 3 p.m.
East Texas SBOE race stirs controversy, San Antonio Express-News
Cost of prosecuting Attorney General Ken Paxton too steep for Collin County officials, The Dallas Morning News
Activists, family of teen shot by officer rally outside City Hall, Austin American-Statesman
Obama’s appearance could mean Austin gridlock at SXSW, San Antonio Express-News
HISD trustees postpone vote on $20 million budget cut, Houston Chronicle
Greg Abbott announces goal of bringing broadband access to all schools, Austin American-Statesman
Chuck Norris bows out of Cruz event, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Open carry leader: Obama’s Austin visit during SXSW gun rally could ‘get interesting’, The Dallas Morning News
State commissioners meet with local leaders, Midland Reporter-Telegram
Quote to Note
"Where else could a boy born in Calgary run for president of the United States?"
— President Barack Obama, joking about U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s eligibility to be president at the state dinner with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Trib Events for the Calendar
• How High is the Water? A Data Visualization Party on March 13 at Umbel Corp
• A Conversation with Reps. Craig Goldman, Stephanie Klick and Ramon Romero Jr. on March 29 at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth
• The Price of Admission: A Conversation on the Top 10 Percent Rule on March 31 at Austin Community College Highland Campus
• A Conversation with Sen. Carlos Uresti and Rep. Poncho Nevárez on April 13 at Sul Ross State University in Alpine
• A Symposium on the Texas Economy on April 29 at the University of Houston