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Democratic Super PAC Makes Early Buy in Gallego-Hurd Contest

Also, Gov. Greg Abbott kicks off his book tour and a certain tweeting Texas Supreme Court justice pops up on a shortlist of U.S. Supreme Court nominees in a Trump administration.

Former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego (left) was ousted by Republican Will Hurd, right, in the 2014 CD-23 contest.

A Democratic super PAC that supports party efforts to capture back control of the House of Representatives will likely target U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-San Antonio, in the fall.

Former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, is challenging Hurd in a rematch this fall.

The House Majority PAC announced Tuesday that the group reserved $851,618 in the San Antonio television market, intended to air ads against the freshman incumbent. Democrats in general — and this group, specifically — reserve ad time early in the cycle in order to secure the lowest advertising rates possible.

House Majority PAC and other groups are known to cancel reservations in the fall if a race is perceived to be over — either already won or a lost cause, in a brutal process called "triage."

Republican organizations often reserve late — and at a premium — in order to preserve the element of surprise. It is all but certain that GOP groups will support Hurd on the air as well, but will make their buys at a later date. Some Texas strategists project that spending in the race could exceed $15 million.

No other race in Texas garners this kind of interest or national group spending. It is the only competitive contest in the state that draws in this kind of outside interest.

Political handicappers rate this race as a pure tossup.

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Gov. Greg Abbott kicked off in Austin on Wednesday a lengthy bus tour of the state to promote his new memoir/political manifesto, “Broken But Unbowed,” that combines his life story of overcoming considerable personal adversity with his prescription for a states-led overhaul of the U.S. Constitution.

When all is said and done, Abbott will have visited 19 cities over a 10-day span.

Abbott took the stage as news was breaking that Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, who has developed a national reputation for his prolific and often humorous tweets, was included in presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s shortlist of possible nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court.

For full details of the Willett mention by Trump, check out the comprehensive coverage by the Tribune’s Matthew Watkins and Julián Aguilar here (yes, there are sample tweets).

The Tribune’s Patrick Svitek, meanwhile, noted on Twitter (natch) that Abbott, a former Texas Supreme Court justice himself, was asked by a reporter about Willett’s tweets critical of Trump. Abbott responded, “Do you want me to comment on the profundity of Twitter?”

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U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, is officially the fastest man in the House of Representatives. On Wednesday morning, he was the top House member finisher in an annual three-mile dash called the Capital Challenge.

The congressman finished the run in 20 minutes, 16 seconds. He was not the fastest member of Congress, though. That honor went to U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, who finished the race in 18 minutes, 35 seconds.

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The Legislative Reference Library of Texas has received a collection of documents from Austin attorney Mark Kincaid, who died earlier this year. Kincaid was widely considered a leading authority on unfair insurance practices in the state.

The documents span two decades — from 1995 through 2015 — and include legislation, analyses of bills, transcripts of testimony, slideshow presentations and communication with other individuals. The papers were donated to the Library by Kincaid's wife, Joan Kincaid.

"This generous donation by Ms. Kincaid is a significant legislative intent research tool available to bench, bar and anyone interested in the development of Texas consumer insurance law over the last thirty years," said Austin attorney Joe Longley.

Kincaid's papers will be included in the Library's Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act and Insurance Law collection.

"The library is extremely excited at the thoughtfulness and generosity of the Kincaid family," said Library Director Mary Camp in a statement. "These papers provide a broad-based and much-needed historical perspective to Texas consumer's insurance rights."

Disclosure: Mark and Joan Kincaid have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

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