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The Brief: Cruz Looks West After Losing East Coast Contests

Ted Cruz had a rough night in the five presidential contests held Tuesday along the Atlantic seaboard, an outcome that had the Texas senator looking immediately to more promising terrain elsewhere.

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz spoke on April 26, 2016, to supporters in Knightstown, Indiana, during a ral…

The Big Conversation

Ted Cruz had a rough night in the five presidential contests held Tuesday along the Atlantic seaboard, an outcome that had been expected and had the Texas senator looking immediately to more promising terrain elsewhere.

The Tribune's Patrick Svitek has the rundown:

With well over half the vote in in all five states, Cruz was solidly in third place in four of them, trailing [Donald] Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

The lone exception was Pennsylvania, where Cruz was placing second with 21 percent, two points ahead of Kasich. Cruz has already moved on from the Northeast, going all in on the next primary, which is being held May 3 in Indiana. ... 

"The media has told us the candidates in this race, the Republican and the Democrat, they're both going to be New York liberals, but I've got good news for you: Tonight this campaign moves back to more favorable terrain," Cruz told supporters inside Knightstown's Hoosier Gym, best known for its role in the iconic basketball movie of the same name.

Looking to land a knockout blow next week in Indiana, front-runner Donald Trump is dropping $900,000 on TV and radio ads in the state and doubling the number of operatives on the ground, Politico reported.

The state could turn out to be the key battle in the war for the GOP nomination. Politico noted that failing to win most of the 57 delegates up for grabs in Indiana would put Trump in the position of needing to take nearly all of the delegates in the California contest or making up ground in states unfavorable to him currently if he hopes to lock up the nomination on the first ballot.

Trib Must Reads

Austin Company Poised to Fill Gap if Uber, Lyft Leave, by Madlin Mekelburg — Uber and Lyft have pledged to leave Austin if the city votes down an ordinance preventing fingerprint-based background checks. But a smaller Austin-based company called getme insists it can fill the gap.

Analysis: Texas Lawmaker Suggests Giving Sunset a Ride, by Ross Ramsey — If state Rep. Larry Phillips gets his way, the Sunset Advisory Commission could be up for the sort of operational review it's used to dishing out to other state agencies — forcing the agency to justify its existence.

Paxton's Office Defends Continued Pay for Former Staffers, by Patrick Svitek — The office of Attorney General Ken Paxton is formally defending his decision to continue paying two high-level staffers after they resigned, saying Paxton "acted in a compassionate, legal, and ethical manner."

Texas Rangers Join Criminal Probe of State Rep. Dawnna Dukes, by Terri Langford — The Texas Rangers have joined a Travis County District Attorney office criminal probe into state Rep. Dawnna Dukes' use of staff, the Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed.

Lt. Gov. Patrick Slams Universities for Tuition Increases, by Matthew Watkins — In his most aggressive terms yet, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick excoriated Texas universities for raising their tuition in recent years, suggesting that the Texas Senate will try to limit tuition growth when it reconvenes next year.

The Day Ahead

•    A House select committee on mental health holds an interim legislative hearing in the Capitol extension at 10 a.m. On the agenda is invited testimony on a variety of topics related to delivery of services and workforce development.

•    The Senate select committee on property tax reform and relief holds a field hearing in Arlington at 8 a.m. to take invited and public testimony.

Elsewhere

Ted Cruz calls a hoop a ‘basketball ring’ in Indiana; Hoosier Twitter does not approve, The Dallas Morning News

Top Republican floats Cruz as Supreme Court pick, The Hill

Ted Cruz’s goal was the White House, not the Senate, Cornyn says, Austin American-Statesman

Graham: ‘The only hope for America is God.’, San Antonio Express-News

Senate Nears Deal for at Least $1.1 Billion to Fight Zika Virus, The New York Times

Dan Patrick: Lawmakers should regulate tuition again, Austin American-Statesman

CPS changing approach to families with domestic violence, Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Latino children are undercounted in the Census, report says, Houston Chronicle

Taxpayers covering a half-million dollars in security costs for Gov. Abbott so far, San Antonio Express-News

Uber-, Lyft-backed campaign mounts $600,000 TV ad spree, Austin American-Statesman

Texas Lures Data Centers, Not for Jobs but for Revenue, The New York Times

Quote to Note

"I think the handwriting is on the bathroom wall: Stay out of the ladies' room if you're a man. If it costs me an election, if it costs me a lot of grief, then so be it.

— Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, signaling a willingness to have lawmakers take up next session the controversial issue of the choice of bathrooms by transgender people

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Symposium on the Texas Economy on April 29 at the University of Houston

•    The Texas Tribune's third Texas-centric Trivia Night on May 1 at The Highball in Austin

•    A Conversation on Mental Health Matters on May 10 at KLRU Studio 6A in Austin

•    The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin

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