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The Brief: Republicans Converge in Cleveland for Convention

With national Republicans set this week to nominate Donald Trump, Texans — both party leaders and rank-and-file — seek to make their presence known.

Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Fort Worth on February 26, 2015.

The Big Conversation

The country turns its attention to Cleveland today, where Republicans are gathering to launch their national convention and formally nominate Donald Trump for president.

As the Tribune’s Patrick Svitek writes, many of Texas’ most prominent Republicans are still lukewarm on Trump, who remains a divisive figure within the party establishment for his controversial statements on Muslims and Hispanics. The Washington Post suggests that the convention will be like no other in the modern era — a gathering of a divided and nervous political party preparing to nominate a candidate who stormed through the nominating process after turning his back on a generation or more of conservative orthodoxy.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, himself a former presidential candidate, is scheduled to address convention attendees this week, despite the fact that Cruz has not yet endorsed Trump in the race; former Gov. Rick Perry will also speak. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and other state Republicans are expected to deliver remarks before the Texas delegation in Cleveland.

Svitek has a run-down of five things to watch at the convention this week. Among the highlights: unruly delegates who are very unlikely, but still determined, to overthrow Trump as the partys nominee, and Cruzs speech. (Cruz is expected to at least use the platform to argue for the continuation of the conservative movement — much like he did two months ago at the state GOP convention,” Svitek writes. Looming over Cruz's stay in Cleveland will be his own political ambitions, which are already believed to include a do-over bid for the White House in 2020.”)

The Fort-Worth Star Telegram reports that Republicans from North Texas are expecting the unexpected” in Cleveland this week, given Trump’s place on the ticket. First-time delegate Brian Bledsoe told the newspaper that “I definitely believe this is going to be anything but boring.”

Ross Ramsey, meanwhile, writes in the Tribune that the largest red state of them all” — Texas — is effectively sitting on the sidelines as Republicans begin their national convention in Cleveland.

Trib Must Reads

Miles Nominated to Replace Ellis for Houston Senate Seat, by Patrick Svitek — State Rep. Borris Miles of Houston has captured the Democratic nomination to replace state Sen. Rodney Ellis, putting him on track to win the seat in November.

Some Statewide Officials Build Big War Chests, by Patrick Svitek — It may be the political offseason, but some statewide officials are already building sizable war chests with more than two years until they are up for re-election.

Mike Pence Once Partnered with Texan on Guest Worker Program, by Julián Aguilar — Ten years before he was tapped to be Donald Trump's running mate, Mike Pence was in the U.S. House and partnered with U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas on a “21st century guest-worker program.”

Hensarling Lauds Mike Pence as “Principled” Leader, by Madeline Conway — Donald Trump’s decision to name Indiana Gov. Mike Pence his running mate could increase enthusiasm for the Republican ticket from at least one member of the Texas congressional delegation — U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Dallas.

Three of the Highest Paid University Executives are Texans, by Matthew Watkins — A report released Sunday by the Chronicle of Higher Education looking at executive pay shows that for public college presidents and chancellors, it pays to work in Texas.

First Responders Trained on Brain Trauma (Video), by Alana Rocha and Justin Dehn — A new law enforcement training course offered across the state helps officers spot the signs of a person dealing with a head injury. And in the wake of recent police shootings, officers in the course say they see it as one more tool to help them de-escalate situations.

TDCJ Officer Dead, Possibly Murdered, Agency Says, by Johnathan Silver — The death of a correctional officer at the French Robertson Unit near Abilene who was found unresponsive near the kitchen area of the prison early Saturday is being investigated as a homicide.

Texas Universities to Launch Online Counseling, by Aneri Pattani — The number of students seeking mental health counseling, usually for depression and anxiety, is surging at Texas universities. Three are trying a new online program designed to reach more students.

The Day Ahead

•    A House Committee on Appropriations subcommittee meets at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Extension to discuss transportation legislation and the state transportation department’s budget structure.


(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)

Trump aims to heal GOP divisions in Cleveland, Houston Chronicle

Scrambling, Planners of the Republican Convention Put ‘Showbiz’ Off to the Wings, The New York Times

Payback time for Texas? Huge GOP delegation gets distant seats at Trump convention, The Dallas Morning News

U.S. Rep. Hurd won’t say if he’ll vote for Trump, El Paso Times

Gov. Greg Abbott offers help, shares grief with Louisiana’s leader, Austin American-Statesman

Abbott keeps details of accident secret, San Antonio Express-News

Change in state law hides rise in 2nd trimester abortions, Houston Chronicle

For Republicans, clean energy boom, shifting ties test climate change stance, Houston Chronicle

Program to corral ballooning sex offender registry failing, Austin American-Statesman

Obamacare hitting Texas hard as insurers propose steep rate increases, San Antonio Express-News

Large majorities on both sides of southwestern border oppose a wall, poll finds, The Washington Post

Black Lives Matter supporters say their Dallas work will continue, The Dallas Morning News

Fatal encounters: Suspects' deaths rise across Texas even as arrests drop, The Dallas Morning News

Quote to Note

“The officers in Baton Rouge; the officers in Dallas — they were our fellow Americans, part of our community, part of our country, with people who loved and needed them, and who need us now — all of us — to be at our best.” 

— President Barack Obama, in a statement in response to the shooting deaths of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Sunday

Today in TribTalk

U.K.-Texas ties remain strong after Brexit vote, by Karen Bell — The United Kingdom is the largest foreign investor in the state, with nearly 70,000 Texans working for U.K. companies and subsidiaries.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   Life on the Border: Rhetoric or Reality? on Aug. 4 at The Centennial Club in McAllen

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

•   TribFeast: A Dinner To Support Nonprofit Journalism on Sept. 24 at the University of Texas at Austin's Etter-Harbin Alumni Center

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