The Big Conversation

Despite Texas' reputation as a predominately red state, Lone Star State Democrats backing their presidential nominee Hillary Clinton are hopeful the state will become competitive come November.

As the Tribune Patrick Svitek reports, Clinton's Texas campaign on Sunday opened its first headquarters in conjunction with the Democratic National Committee in Houston — the first of several such openings, Clinton's forces hope. The move into Texas comes after a recent Washington Post poll showed Clinton and Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, virtually tied in Texas, which left many Texans hopeful.

In an interview with the Tribune following the inaugural office’s opening, state party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said he was encouraged by both the poll and the Clinton campaign’s attentiveness to a normally red state, saying they’re "going to have to recognize at some point that the payoffs for investing in Texas are enormous."

However, while many states have Clinton and Trump virtually tied, leading or trailing the other by single digits, a Reuters poll released Saturday shows Trump may be closing in on Clinton’s earlier leads.

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Trib Must Reads

Analysis: Pointing the Finger When It Comes to Low Texas Voter Turnout, by Ross Ramsey — Before you blame voters for Texas' remarkably low election turnout, look at state law. If elections were run by a business, and if high voter turnout was a goal, wouldn't they be trying to make it easier to vote instead of harder? 

Lawmakers to Examine Ballooning Cost of Tuition Program for Texas Veterans, by Alana Rocha and Todd Wiseman — After failed attempts last year to limit eligibility for the Hazlewood Act, school officials will meet with House lawmakers at the Capitol Tuesday to discuss ways to pay for it.

Federal Regulators Take Teladoc’s Side in Medical Board Suit, by Edgar Walters — Teladoc, the Dallas-based company that sued Texas over its telemedicine regulations, has a new ally in the Federal Trade Commission.

Less Screaming, More Diversity: Aggie Corps Reboots for 21st Century, by Matthew Watkins — With women in leadership, more time for students to study and even a Starbucks, the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets is a kinder and gentler version of its former self. 

UT-Austin Honors First Black Undergraduates of 60 Years Ago, by Alex Samuels — On Friday, 60 years after more than 70 black undergraduate students were first allowed to enroll at UT, the university paid tribute with a celebration of the milestone. 

A&M Researchers Unveil Freight Delivery Without Trucks, by Elena Mejia Lutz — Back in 1998, the federal government asked the Texas A&M Transportation Institute to find a way of moving freight without trucks on highways. Eighteen years later, the researchers debuted their prototype on Friday.

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Anti-Vaccine Activists Take Offense at Texas Rep's Tweet About Playboy Bunnies, by Bobby Blanchard — A series of late-night tweets in which a Texas lawmaker promised to support tightened legislation on vaccines and referenced "playboy bunnies" has drawn the ire of a political action committee that supports loosening vaccine laws.

In Austin, Richards Draws Parallels Between Mom, Clinton, by Patrick Svitek — Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, making a stop in solidly red Texas, drew parallels Friday between Hillary Clinton's campaign and Richards' mother's trail-blazing path to the Texas governor's office. 

Texas Lawmaker's Tweet References Old Comments on Rape, Pot, by Nicole Cobler — As the debate over the legality of paid fantasy sports sites presses on in Texas, state Rep. Jonathan Stickland took to Twitter to bring attention to controversial comments he previously made about drugs and rape on a fantasy football forum. 

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert Calls Hillary Clinton "Mentally Impaired", by Abby Livingston — U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert openly questioned on Friday the mental faculties of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton while speaking to an audience of social conservatives.

The Day Ahead

•     Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will present the 2016 Star of Texas Awards in a 2:30 p.m. ceremony at the Texas Capitol in Austin. 

•     The Senate Higher Education Committee will study and evaluate regional workforce needs in the state and monitor progress of a pilot program aiming to boost financial aid literacy among postsecondary students during a morning meeting in Austin. 

Elsewhere

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

Dallas DA Susan Hawk's legacy may be better awareness about depression, The Dallas Morning News 

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How Texas keeps tens of thousands of children out of special education, Houston Chronicle 

South Texas braces for Zika, prepares for challenges ahead, San Antonio Express-News

Not so black and white: Wide racial disparities in DPS troopers' stops, searches, Austin American-Statesman 

How important is the Hispanic vote in November 2016?, Fort Worth Star-Telegram 

Paxton again sides with Exxon Mobil in climate change probe, Houston Chronicle 

Chairman Michael McCaul: 15 years after 9/11, we're forgetting important lessons, Fox News 

Donald Trump dismisses conventional wisdom in Texas campaignSan Antonio Express-News

Quote to Note

"I'm personally doing 'Dancing With the Stars' because my daughter is getting married in October and I don't want to embarrass her at our father-daughter dance. I want to win 'Dancing With the Stars' for the men and women of our military. My daughter is married to one of those, so it's every bit as much for her as it is for thousands of men and women who serve this country nobly."

— Texas Governor Rick Perry on his decision to join the next season of "Dancing With The Stars"

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 

•   A Conversation with Pete Gallego, Candidate for Congressional District 23 on Sept. 22 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

•   The Texas Response To Zika on Oct. 18 at BCBSTX Headquarters in Richardson

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