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The Brief: Texas Republicans Face Choice With Trump

With Donald Trump now the presumptive nominee, Texas Republican leaders weigh in on whether they will fall in behind the party's standard bearer in the fall.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke during a rally at Beaumont's Ford Arena on Nov. 14, 2015.

The Big Conversation

Former President George H.W. Bush and his son, former President George W. Bush, do not intend to endorse Donald Trump, who has become the presumptive GOP presidential nominee following the departure of Ted Cruz and John Kasich from the race.

The Tribune's Jordan Rudner reported that the elder Bush, "who enthusiastically endorsed every Republican nominee for the past five election cycles, will stay out of the campaign process this time."

“At age 91, President Bush is retired from politics,” Bush's spokesman Jim McGrath wrote in an email Wednesday. “He came out of retirement to do a few things for Jeb, but those were the exceptions that proved the rule.” His son, George W. Bush, meanwhile, "does not plan to participate in or comment on the presidential campaign," according to his personal aide, Freddy Ford.

The Bushes' decision to abstain, though, hasn't stopped other Texas Republicans from signaling their support for Trump.

The Tribune's Patrick Svitek reported that "some of Texas' top Republicans leaders and lawmakers — including former Cruz supporters — made clearer than ever they plan to support Trump in the general election. They were helped by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who said Tuesday night Trump will be the presumptive nominee and that the party needs to focus on uniting to defeat Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in November."

The list includes Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Other former Cruz supporters saying they'll now back Trump include U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville, and state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham.

Other Republicans, though, remain reluctant to switch their allegiance to Trump. Svitek wrote, state "Rep. Jason Villalba of Dallas, made crystal clear Tuesday night he could never get behind Trump, while Cruz's most active surrogate from the Texas congressional delegation, [U.S.] Rep. Louie Gohmert of Tyler, was more ambivalent, suggesting his backing of Trump would be conditional."

Trib Must Reads

David Simpson Vies for Senate Upset of Bryan Hughes, by Madlin Mekelburg — A mere 13 votes allowed state Rep. David Simpson to sneak into a runoff in the Republican primary campaign to fill Sen. Kevin Eltife's open seat. Now, he must try to catch face fellow state Rep. Bryan Hughes.

Texas Cemetery Sued Over “Whites Only” Policy, by Alexa Ura — Dorothy Barrera hoped she and her late husband would eventually be together again at the San Domingo Cemetery, but she says the cemetery association refused to allow her husband's burial because he was Hispanic.

Judge Blocks State From Licensing Family Detention Center, by Madlin Mekelburg — An Austin judge temporarily blocked the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services from issuing a child-care license to an immigration detention center in Karnes City on Wednesday.

Uber Sued Over "Robo-Texts" in Austin Election Battle, by Madlin Mekelburg — Ride-hailing company Uber was hit with a class-action lawsuit on Wednesday over "robo-text messages" the company has been sending Austin customers seeking their support for a controversial referendum on the ballot Saturday.

Hofheinz Family Sues to Keep Name on UH Pavilion, by Matthew Watkins — The family of former Houston Mayor Roy Hofheinz is asking a judge to block the University of Houston from changing the name of Hofheinz Pavilion as it solicits funds for a major renovation of the facility.

In Trump's Chaos, Cruz's Savvy Met its Match, by Patrick Svitek — Ted Cruz's cool, calculated style met its match in Trump's freewheeling pugilism, which again and again upended the central features of Cruz's candidacy.

Survey: Texans Support a Statewide "Clean Energy" Plan, by Jim Malewitz — A new poll shows most Texans believe state leaders should draw up a plan to shift from coal-fired power to natural gas and renewables — even if the state defeats the Obama administration in a high-profile court battle.

The Day Ahead

•    The House budget subcommittee overseeing education funding meets in Houston at 1 p.m. to take up an interim legislative charge on funding formulas for institutions of higher education.

•    A joint legislative committee on border security has an interim hearing scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in the Capitol extension to monitor implementation of comprehensive border security legislation passed last session.

•    Gov. Greg Abbott is in Midland this evening to present the Hope Award at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s 2016 Dinner of Champions.

Elsewhere

Texas raises stink over Target's transgender bathrooms, Fox News

Inside Cruz’s Crumbling Campaign, Politico

Supporters expect Cruz to remain on the national stage, Houston Chronicle

Ted Cruz’s zombie campaign, Politico

Their exes live in Texas: California tops states feeding our population growth, The Dallas Morning News

Plan for interstate border security compact met with skepticism, Austin American-Statesman

State rejects request to exclude some STAAR scores from state ratings, Austin American-Statesman

Texas should do more to discourage surprise medical bills, consumer groups say, The Dallas Morning News

Uber and Lyft Make an Absurd Bluff in Austin With Sponsored Ballot Measure Proposition 1, The Atlantic

Alamo library dispute nearly settled, San Antonio Express-News

Quote to Note

“For a lot of people, political partisanship is like religion. People would say ‘Rather than switching religions, I’ll just stop going to church.’ And on Election Day, some people are going to do that.”

— St. Edwards University professor Brian Smith, suggesting to The Dallas Morning News that dissatisfied Republicans and Democrats would rather refuse to support their parties' nominees rather than support a third-party candidate

News From Home

•    Today’s the last day of our spring member drive. Your support ensures funding for our nonprofit newsroom. It’s not too late to give. Please join today.

•    Our Faces of Death Row app has some new features. Now, you can search for inmates by the county where the crime was committed and see who has an execution date scheduled.

Trib Events for the Calendar

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

•    A Conversation with Mike Morath, Texas Education Commissioner, on May 17 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation Series on the Direction of Health Care: Do We Have Enough Doctors?, on May 19 at the Medical World Americas Conference in Houston

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

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