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Chad’s Morning Brief: Who Will Run for Statewide Office in Texas?, Historic Week at the Supreme Court, & More

Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of June 24, 2013. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or with the radioPup App.

Win McNamee, Getty Images

1. Who’s Running for What in Texas? (link)

Get ready for a busy week in Austin and throughout the State of Texas. It’s been a decade since Texans have seen a major shake-up with statewide office holders. This could be the week though when the dominoes start falling. Of course most of the statewide races will still be dominated and controlled by Republicans.

Republican candidates for everything from land commissioner to lieutenant governor are actively staking out bids for higher office in 2014, freed last week from a ban on contributions to begin peppering their donor networks for campaign cash.

At the top of the ticket, a big question looms: Will Gov. Rick Perry run for re-election, and, if so, would Attorney General Greg Abbott challenge him? Indications are Perry might not run for a fourth term, but those close to him say they’re not sure what he’ll do.

“Perry would have to face a tough choice — to risk his legacy by trying for re-election in what may be a competitive primary,” Republican strategist John Weaver said. “If Perry doesn’t run, Abbott has a clear shot — and it might be the last clear shot for governor a Republican gets in Texas” amid a growing Hispanic population expected to benefit Democrats sometime in the future.

The GOP holds every statewide office, and the decisive contests next year will be in the Republican primary, where the battle lines could pit the conservative tea party base against the party’s more traditional wing.

Who will be sitting in the Governor’s Mansion isn’t the only race being watched though.

Five of the seven top statewide offices are expected to be open seats — attorney general, comptroller, land commissioner, agriculture commissioner and railroad commissioner. (If Perry bows out, the governorship would be the sixth, and next year would be the first election without an incumbent running for governor since 1990.)

The last time there was that kind of shake-up was 2002, the first election after Bush went to the White House and ignited a political chain reaction down the Texas ballot.

Democrats haven’t won a statewide office in two decades, and most of the party’s potential future stars are expected to sit out next year’s contests in hope the political climate improves in four more years.

Democratic political consultant Chuck McDonald said the tea party-mainstream divide in the GOP clearly favors the most conservative candidates in the field.

“To get through a Republican primary, you’ve got to reach out and embrace the Second Amendment like it’s the Magna Carta,” he said. “Mainstream is bad. Compromise is worse. Bipartisanship is a felony offense.”

Stung by Cruz’s portrayal last year, Dewhurst is making a strong pitch for tea party voters and social conservatives in his bid for re-election as lieutenant governor. In an email fundraising pitch, Dewhurst touts his “strong conservative leadership.”

“We didn’t become the most pro-family state in America by accident. We didn’t develop the strongest economy by accident. We didn’t set the tone for Second Amendment rights by accident,” Dewhurst writes.

Challengers Todd Staples, the agriculture commissioner, and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson have both signaled they want to define themselves as the most conservative candidate in the field.

Staples reminds potential donors in a fundraising appeal that he “authored the constitutional amendment defining marriage was between one man and one woman.” He is airing a two-minute Internet video featuring galloping horses and guns and promising to buck “the insidious Obama political machine.”

Patterson, a longtime proponent of gun rights, vows in an online solicitation to protect the Second Amendment, stop illegal immigration and fight the federal government.

It’s about time to kick-off political season in Texas… officially. What do you think Governor Rick Perry should do?

2. Big Week at the Supreme Court (link)

Affirmative Action, Gay Marriage, Voting Rights Act, and more will all be targets of the Supreme Court. In other words, it’s going to be a big week.

The justices take the bench tomorrow to issue the first of 11 decisions before their nine-month term ends. The court is considering limiting university affirmative action, striking down a core part of the landmark Voting Rights Act, invalidating a federal law that defines marriage as an opposite-sex union, and overturning California’s ban on gay weddings.

The result may be a turning point in a debate over equality that has raged since the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868. While the cases offer paths for the justices to avoid the central constitutional questions, the disputes also give them an opportunity to rewrite the nation’s civil rights laws.

“In the court’s modern history, I don’t think there has ever been one week with so much at stake,” said Tom Goldstein, a Supreme Court lawyer whose Scotusblog website tracks the court and is sponsored by Bloomberg Law. “We have four pending cases that may be cited for at least a century.”

The drama will unfold over several days, starting at 10 a.m., Washington time, tomorrow. The court traditionally finishes its term in the final days of June, meaning all four rulings are likely by the week’s end.

Even before the court issues its first decisions, it may announce a blockbuster case for its 2013-14 term. At 9:30 a.m. the justices will release a list of new cases, potentially including a showdown over President Barack Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.

Stay tuned.

3. Fewer Hurricanes Because of Humans (link)

After Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, the Al Gore’s of the world warned us that climate change was responsible and that we would see more dangerous storms in the future. A new study though says that the particles that humans have put into the air have actually lowered hurricane frequency.

Higher levels of air pollution reduced the frequency of North Atlantic hurricanes and other tropical storms for most of the 20th century, a study said Sunday.

Adding to evidence for mankind’s impact on the weather system, the probe found a link between these powerful storms and aerosols, the scientific term for specks of matter suspended in a gas.

Aerosols can occur in natural form — as dusty volcanic plumes, clouds or fog — but are also man-made, such as sooty particles from burning coal or oil.

The study focused on particles from North America and Europe that were generated mainly from burning fossil fuels.

Researchers from the UK Met Office created weather simulations covering the period 1860 to 2050.

They found that tropical storms were much less frequent during periods when emissions of man-made aerosols increased over the North Atlantic.

So I guess climate change saves lives now?

Other Top Stories:

Graham Says 70 Votes Close

Loopholes in the Immigration Bill

Obama to Push Climate Change

Chamber Backs Immigration Reform

Progs Say Clinton Must Win Them Over

How the Farm Bill Failed

NY Times on FEMA Denying Aid to West

Lubbock STD Clinic Loses Funding

Did Perry Veto the Wrong Bill?

Tornado Sirens An Option

Another Shooting in the Depot

These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com.

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