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The Brief: Sources say Perry encouraged McCaul to challenge Cruz

After U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz refused to endorse Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention, top GOP donors encouraged U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul to challenge Cruz in 2018.

Former Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin.

The Big Story

After U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz declined to endorse Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention in July, the outcry prompted some to float Republican U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul as a possible primary contender against Cruz when he goes up for re-election in 2018. Then on Monday, sources confirmed to the Tribune that former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was one of the Texas GOP donors and politicians strongly encouraging McCaul to challenge Cruz.

•  While neither Perry's nor McCaul’s staff would comment on whether the former governor made such overtures to McCaul, Perry spokesman Stan Gerdes said, "Rick Perry holds Michael McCaul in the highest esteem.” Cruz has previously said he’s not taking his re-election for granted, but he hasn’t commented on possibly challenging McCaul.

•  While in Austin last Tuesday, McCaul wouldn’t say if he planned on challenging Cruz. McCaul said he has been advising Trump on national security and in debate preparation and that his main focus at the moment is ensuring his candidate wins the presidency. McCaul did, however, criticize Cruz's for neglect for Texas during his campaign. "I think he's spent a lot of time since Day One running for president. I think we deserve somebody in the Senate who is going to be representing the interests of the state of Texas,” McCaul said last week. 

•  If McCaul doesn’t run against Cruz, the search for a potential challenger may shift to Perry himself. Although Perry supported Cruz in the primaries, he has not always supported his fellow Texan. Perry previously backed Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's failed bid to win the open U.S. Senate seat that Cruz won.

Tribune Today

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Texas residents could receive more federal aid to pay for costly health plans
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HUD wants documentation on how Dallas handled federal housing funds
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What We're Reading

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

Gov. Abbott on education special session: Nope, The Dallas Morning News

These transgender inmates are trying to start over. Jail might be their best shot., Houston Chronicle 

Cruz steps up effort to help GOP keep Senate control, San Antonio Express-News

Today in TribTalk

"This month, the Texas Department of State Health Services took public comments on a new proposed rule that will preserve the right of the youngest Texans to be treated with dignity by requiring fetal remains from abortions and miscarriages to be buried or cremated."

— Rep. Jodie Laubenberg and Catherine Glenn Foster

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   A Symposium on Transportation on Nov. 3 at Texas A&M University - Rudder Tower 

•   A Conversation with U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke on Nov. 4 at The Austin Club 

•   Live Post-Election TribCast on Nov. 9 at The Austin Club 

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

•   A Conversation with Michael K. Young, President of Texas A&M University on Dec. 1 at The Austin Club

•   San Antonio & the Legislature: A Preview of the 85th on Dec. 2 at University of Texas at San Antonio – Downtown Campus

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