is executive editor and co-founder of The Texas Tribune. Before joining the Tribune, Ross was editor and co-owner of Texas Weekly for 15 years. He did a 28-month stint in government as associate deputy comptroller for policy and director of communications with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Before that, he reported for the Houston Chronicle from its Austin bureau and for the Dallas Times Herald, first on the business desk in Dallas and later as its Austin bureau chief, and worked as a Dallas-based freelance business writer, writing for regional and national magazines and newspapers. Ross got his start in journalism in broadcasting, covering news for radio stations in Denton and Dallas.
A lobbyist who doesn't want his name in this newsletter or anywhere else offered up a new phrase for this phase of the race for speaker: Legislative Osteoporosis. He's referring to bone loss in the spines of some lawmakers.
It took five days in 2004 to get the first 10 percent of the voters to the polls. It took three days this year. Early voting in those first three days was up 73 percent in the state's top 14 counties, according to the Texas Secretary of State.
If we listen only to Republican consultants, they'll sweep the statewide seats, hold off Democratic challengers in two congressional seats, knock off one and maybe two Democrats in Congress, hold onto all three contested state Senate seats, and gain a net of four seats in the House, ensuring another two years with the GOP in control of all statewide offices, the congressional delegation and both chambers in the statehouse.
Uncertainties over the presidential race, Hurricane Ike's after-effects, and the rapidly changing economic news have political people on both sides of the aisle looking at bloated lists of hot races in the Texas House.
U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison told her colleagues in the Senate that she won't be seeking reelection to her Senate leadership job, and on a little (but not much) more private level, she's telling colleagues she'll soon form an "exploratory" committee to start raising money and gathering intelligence in anticipation of a 2010 run for governor.
Texas Democrats have been recruiting Libertarian candidates into state races for years. The conventional view is that a Libertarian takes more from a Republican than from a Democrat. In a close race, that can make all the difference.