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The Brief: Could Texas Go Blue This November?

A new Washington Post-SurveyMonkey poll showing Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump tied at the head of the presidential field in Texas provokes widespread critiques.

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The Big Conversation

A new Washington Post-SurveyMonkey poll shows Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the major parties' nominees for president, virtually tied atop a four-way race in Texas, each earning 40 percent of the state’s electoral votes.

Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein fill out the four-candidate field in the survey. As the poll notes, “Texas splits about evenly between Clinton and Trump in the new poll. That’s a significant change from past elections in the traditionally Republican stronghold.” When the poll asked to choose between just Clinton and Trump, the Democratic presidential nominee received 46 percent of the vote to Trump's 45 percent. Nine percent registered no opinion.

However, many were skeptical about the poll's results, especially since the findings contradict other polls. As the National Review’s Jim Geraghty puts it, “the results just seem odd all around, with a lot of states that looked to be leaning heavily in one direction in other polls appearing neck-and-neck in this survey.” 

As the Tribune’s Ross Ramsey reports, no Democrat has won Texas since 1976, when Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford. However, the state hasn’t seen a general election race for president this close for a while. And while operatives in both camps say they believe the state will retain its reputation as predominantly Republican, as Ramsey notes, “nothing is impossible.” 

Trib Must Reads

Cruz, Cornyn Try to Deliver Five New Federal Judges for Texas, by Julián Aguilar — Texas consistently ranks as one of the states with the most open seats on the federal bench, with some judgeships vacant for years. Five nominees are set for U.S. Senate committee hearings Wednesday.

North Texas Hospitals Face $27 Million Penalty in Medicaid Dispute, by Edgar Walters — Hospitals in the Dallas-Fort Worth region were overpaid by $27 million in federal funds to provide health care for the uninsured, according to a new order from the Obama administration, which is threatening to take the money back.

In Dallas, Tim Kaine's Wife Hears Concerns On Education, Children, by Patrick Svitek — Reflecting an apparent sharpening of Democratic focus on Texas, Anne Holton, wife of Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine, held back-to-back events in Dallas Tuesday. 

McConaughey Helping to Teach UT-Austin Film Class for Free, by Annie Daniel — Academy Award-winner and University of Texas at Austin alum Matthew McConaughey is not getting paid to help teach a UT film class using material from movies he’s been working on.

Abbott Will Pick Susan Hawk's Replacement as Dallas County DA, by Elena Mejia Lutz and Nicole Cobler — After struggling with mental illness, including three admissions at psychiatric treatment centers, Republican Susan Hawk stepped down from her position as Dallas County District Attorney on Tuesday. 

Toxic Aquifer Injections Trouble Railroad Commission Hopeful, by Jim Malewitz — Mark Miller, a Libertarian candidate for Texas railroad commissioner, is taking the commission to task for its failure to track toxic injections into underground zones that could hold drinking water.

Committee Denounces Proposed Mexican-American Studies Textbook, by Nicole Cobler — Saying that a proposed Mexican-American studies textbook is "dripping with racism and intolerance," a group of educators and students is calling for the State Board of Education to reject the controversial book.

Texas Education Agency Recommends Pre-K Class Size Limits, by Morgan Smith — To improve pre-kindergarten education, Texas schools should keep class sizes small and student-teacher ratios low, according to a newly released state report.

The Day Ahead

The House Juvenile Justice & Family Issues Committee will study and evaluate the practice of youth being recruited into human trafficking and discuss services to support victims; examine evidence-based practices around early education and parenting support and education programs; and review juvenile justice penalties and sanctions during a morning meeting in Dallas.


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2 Months to Go: The 10 Most Vulnerable House Members, Roll Call 

Zika funding bill fails — again, Politico 

DMN: Donald Trump is no Republican, The Dallas Morning News 

Fuel spill, fire close Houston Ship Channel for 15 hours, Houston Chronicle 

With Dickey's Entry, 3 candidates vie to lead Travis County GOP, Austin American-Statesman 

New laws: How some of the more than 1,200 bills signed last year are working, San Antonio Express-News

Texas appeals judge questions fairness of life without parole, Austin American-Statesman

EPA shuts down 17 wells in Osage Nation after Oklahoma quake, The Associated Press 

Quote to Note

"All told, it’s enough that even some of us who have been disappointed by President Obama’s two-term administration are having second thoughts about his leaving. Alongside the field of nominees seeking to succeed him, he at least looks and sounds presidential. One thing’s sure. Judging from the dire predictions of national calamity if either Clinton or Trump wins, the Nov. 8 election won’t be the end of our national torment."

Waco Tribune Editorial Board on the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees.

Today in TribTalk

When it comes to vaccines, Bexar District Attorney LaHood is no expert, by Anna C. Dragsbaek — When Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood declared disproven claims about vaccines to the public, he risked frightening parents away from vaccinating their children against potentially life-threatening diseases — parents who trust him, respect him as a person who holds a position of authority in his community.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   San Antonio & the Legislature: The Election and Beyond on Sept. 14 at University of Texas at San Antonio – Downtown Campus

•   Meet the New Guys: A Conversation With Incoming Members of the Texas House on Sept. 15 at The Austin Club 

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

•   The Washington Post's Politics & Pints with Chris Cillizza: TTF Edition on Sept. 24 at Scholz Garten

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

•   A Conversation with state Reps. Four Price and John Smithee on Oct. 4 at Amarillo College in Amarillo

•   A Conversation with state Reps. Andrew Murr and Jason Isaac on Nov. 14 at Schreiner University in Kerrville

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