Monday Morning Reading: Early Voting Starts

Time for some coffee and politics to get things going on a Monday.  I’m pouring a cup of Seaport “Founder’s Choice” (from the Texas Coffee Company) today, which came highly recommended by a former colleague. It’s not quite as strong as I’d like, but the flavor isn’t bad at all.

Early voting gets underway today for the May 29th primary.  The marquee race on the GOP side is the contest to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. As a quick refresher before you head out to vote, here are my interviews with the Republican candidates: Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Ted Cruz, Tom Leppert, and Craig James.

A big question as the primaries loom large for candidates all over the state:  Will Governor Perry really be in charge when the legislature convenes next year?  As UT political scientist James Henson put it: “He’s not fading into any sunsets” following his failed presidential bid.  He’s certainly not, but Perry’s clout post-presidential isn’t clear.

Dovetailing nicely with that, Ross Ramsey at the Texas Tribune delves into how, during a Tea Party uprising, establishment candidates in the GOP can’t necessarily depend on the financial backing of some of their traditional allies. Factions are forming in the Republican party now and how those impact the elections this month could have major implications for how policy is set in the 2013 legislative session.

Speaking of Gov. Perry, he’s in the middle of yet another “Texas vs Washington” battle, this time centered around energy production in the Gulf of Mexico. Tim Eaton in the Statesman has the story.

Also speaking of the governor, the Dallas Morning News is rolling out a hard-hitting investigative piece on how the Teacher Retirement System of Texas gambled on casino investments and lost $99 million. The story is behind the DMN’s paywall, but you can watch the nifty video they put together.

Sen. John Cornyn was on the national teevee this weekend to say President Obama’s announcement on gay marriage is a desperate attempt to “solidify his base and divide the country.” The Republican who will soon be the senior senator from Texas also says Mr. Obama is AWOL on big issues: Taxes and defense.

Anything you think I ought to be covering this week?  Let me know.

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