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The Brief: Cruz Endorses Trump, Is Met With Mixed Reviews

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz spent the weekend taking incoming fire from his political enemies and even some of his allies for his Friday endorsement GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz thanks supporters of his failed presidential bid at a waterfront bar along the Cuyahoga River in downtown…

The Big Conversation 

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz spent the weekend taking incoming fire from his political enemies and even some of his allies for his endorsement of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and his decision to forgive Trump for personal attacks aimed at Cruz's family.

In a statement posted to his Facebook page, Cruz said his decision to endorse Trump came after “many months of consideration [and] prayer.” Cruz made it clear in an interview with the Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith, however, that the reason he’s backing Trump is because of what he sees as a binary choice in the upcoming November election between Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

As the Tribune’s Patrick Svitek reports, not everyone is behind Cruz’s endorsement. Besides members of Cruz’s camp saying they “don’t understand” his change of heart, the Texas Democratic Party Deputy Executive Director Manny Garcia issued a statement Friday calling Cruz spineless. "Donald Trump insulted Ted Cruz's dad. He insulted his wife. Trump's disgusting agenda will harm Texas families. Ted Cruz has no spine. End of story,” the statement read.

However, Cruz had been pressured by his own party in recent weeks to rally behind Trump. Last week, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said that Cruz would be left "in the rearview mirror of the Republican Party" if he refused to endorse Trump and U.S. Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) told Politico Thursday that if “Ted Cruz wants to call himself a Republican I think he should be at least a part of the team.”

Trib Must Reads

Analysis: A Game of Chicken Between Texas, Its Biggest School District, by Ross Ramsey — Voters in the state's largest school district can say no to sending money to other school districts, putting Texas lawmakers in a bind and — maybe — raising their own school taxes in the process.

Independent Candidate Evan McMullin Denounces Trump as Racist, by Patrick Svitek — Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin on Sunday labeled Republican nominee Donald Trump a racist, calling for more people to "come out and say that cleanly." 

One Day After Endorsement, Cruz Refuses to Say Trump is Fit for the Presidency, by Matthew Watkins — One day after endorsing Donald Trump, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz refused Saturday to say whether he thinks the Republican nominee for president is fit to lead the country.

Travis County Sheriff Questions Likely Successor’s Immigration Policy, by Alana Rocha — Outgoing Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton said Saturday that his likely successor's promise to get U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement out of the county jail would be “dangerous.”

Starr: Sexual Assault at Baylor Not "an Endemic Problem", by Jim Malewitz — Former Baylor University President Ken Starr pushed back Saturday against the notion that the school — or its athletic department — has systemic problems with its handling of sexual assault allegations.   

Police Are Dead Because of Black Lives Matter, Dan Patrick Says, by Julián Aguilar — The five Dallas police officers killed in July would still be alive if the Black Lives Matter movement didn't exist, Texas Lt. Gov Dan Patrick said Saturday.  

Gary Johnson: I Would Pardon Edward Snowden, by Patrick Svitek — Amid a renewed debate over Edward Snowden, Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson said Saturday he would pardon the whistleblower based on his knowledge of the case.

Cruz Says He's Willing to Forgive Trump for Family AttacksPatrick Svitek — When Ted Cruz declined to endorse Donald Trump earlier this year at the Republican National Convention, one sticking point was the businessman's attacks on Cruz's family during the primaries. When Trump, now the GOP nominee, went after Cruz's dad and wife, Cruz said, he "abrogated" a GOP unity pledge all the candidates signed last year.

At TribFest, Ohio's Kasich Wasn't Endorsing Trump — or Criticizing Cruz, by Ross Ramsey — Hours after Ted Cruz announced a change of heart and endorsed Donald Trump, Ohio Gov. John Kasich wouldn't say who will get his vote.

Texas Supreme Court Allows Medicaid Cuts to Children's Therapy to Proceed, by Edgar Walters — A significant cut to the amount of money Texas pays therapists who treat children with disabilities was finally cleared to take effect when the Texas Supreme Court on Friday declined to hear a lawsuit over the budget cut's legality.

Donald Trump to Return to Texas, by Abby Livingston — The GOP nominee will return to Texas on Oct. 11 for at least one fundraiser, in Dallas, according to two sources close to the Trump campaign. 

Texas Appeals Voter ID Rulings to U.S. Supreme Court, by Jim Malewitz — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday asked the justices to hear his arguments about why the state’s photo ID requirements for voting do not discriminate against Hispanics and African-American voters.   

In Houston, Tim Kaine Seeks to Energize Texas Democrats, by Patrick Svitek — Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine used a speech Friday in Houston to try to energize long-beleaguered Texas Democrats, reiterating his ticket's commitment to seeing the solidly Republican state become more competitive. 

The Day Ahead

•    The House Ways and Means Committee meets during a morning hearing to hear invited testimony on what's causing property tax bills to rise across the state.  

•    The first presidential debate will take place between major-party nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, at 8 p.m. CDT. It will be televised on all major networks and CSPAN. The Texas Tribune also invites you to watch the debate with us. Tell us what you think using the hashtag #TXWatching2016.

Elsewhere

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

Gary Johnson in Austin pitches himself as alternative to “two evils”, Austin American-Statesman 

Ohio Governor John Kasich stumps for Texas congressman in S.A., San Antonio Express-News

Policing the local African-American Community. Is the relationship getting better or worse?, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Law change leads to jump in Texas graduation rate. But is that good?, Austin American-Statesman  

Cruz profited off Trump well before endorsing him, Politico

Political group criticized as victimizing seniors benefited Hurd, two other congressman, San Antonio Express-News

Will water and oil mix in Balmorhea?, Houston Chronicle

Precinct 4's evidence destruction scandal part of larger pattern in constables' offices, Houston Chronicle 

Quote to Note

“If Black Lives Matter hadn’t had that protest, those officers would be alive today.”

— Lt. Gov Dan Patrick speaking Saturday at the Texas Tribune Festival on the shooting deaths of five police officers in July by a sniper attack during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Dallas.

Today in TribTalk

Can Texas values transcend politics?, by Ann Beeson — With emotions particularly high this year, Texans from both ends of the political spectrum are spending a lot of time demonizing each other. But are we really so different than our neighbors?

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   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

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