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Rick Perry: Adios, Coyote

You gotta love the guv. Especially if you’re a newsperson.

Just when things get dull, up pops Rick Perry, with those cowboy boots headed mouthward. it provides new meat to newsfolks facing a long, hot, slow summer.

Sure, Perry had big hair, while the glare off Democratic gubernatorial nominee Bill White’s shiny dome can be spotted by astronauts.

Sure, Perry looks like an extra in “Red River,” while White, with his big ears, looks like that “What, Me Worry?” guy, “Mad” magazine mascot Alfred E. Neuman.

Sure, the guv hints at secession, which White hopes will help his own succession.

Now you’ve got the guv saying he’s been running and gunning, or “grunning,” as state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, nicknamed jogging while packing heat.

Perry told Associated Press capital reporter Jim Vertuno that he had sent a coyote over the rainbow with a laser-guided slug, while loping through the forest with his daughter’s young Labrador Retriever and, of course, his handgun.

Perry told Vertuno that when he jogs in the hilly woods southwest of Austin, near the house rented for him by taxpayers while the governor’s mansion is being rebuilt, he carries the .380 Ruger in a belt. That’s because he’s scared of snakes, and has seen coyotes while jogging.

He spots a coyote eying the dog.

“He never looks at me, he is laser-locked on that dog. I holler and the coyote stopped. I holler again. By this time I had taken my weapon out and charged it. It is now staring dead at me. Either me or the dog are in imminent danger. I did the appropriate thing and sent it to where coyotes go.”

White, Houston’s former mayor and an ardent bicyclist, was asked by Gromer Jeffers of the Dallas News what he’d do if he was on a ride and saw a coyote.

“I go over to Memorial Park and I have seen coyotes,” White said. “As soon as they see me, they run away.”

“I don’t tend to be afraid of coyotes,” he added.

Sen. Watson blogged, tongue-deep-in-cheek, about jogging around Lady Bird Lake while packing his Dirty Harry-style Smith and Wesson .44 Magnum.

Some might find it “hard to believe that someone would be carrying a handgun on a morning run . . . But you just never know when you’ll need to defend yourself from snakes. (Let’s face it, you need some heavy artillery if you’re really scared of a snake.)

“Or coyotes . . . Or armed statewide elected officials.

“So anyway, I’m running with my gun (‘Grunning’ is the technical term), and stopped at the Town Lake Animal Shelter to adopt some kittens.”

Six, he thinks. He just happens to have six kitty leashes. They head out for a job.

“Everything was going great,” Watson writes. “The kittens all run a five-minute mile pace, just like I do in the early mornings before anyone else is up. I was humming a masculine Bach sonata and feeling real good about balancing the state budget without federal stimulus money.”

Then they encountered a dozen giant, malevolent rats. The kittens were frightened.

“So I whipped out the pistol and said, ‘Rats, this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world. It will blow your heads clean off. So you’d better let the kittens and me keep running, or I’m gonna do the appropriate thing and send you where giant rats go.’

“I quickly fired off five shots, taking out ten giant rats. Another one lunged at me and I shot him in the gut.”

Then the giant rat leader attacked.

“I did the only thing a man could do. The only thing that would make a really good story. I shot that giant rat dead.

“(I know what you’re saying: ‘But Senator Watson, that’s seven bullets. A .44 Magnum only holds six.’ Well, you’re just using Washington, D.C.-style logic. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)”

“Now let me tell you about the three holes-in one I had last week. You see, I was golfing by myself…”

Legislature: New speaker, and large learning curve

Just over six of the 20 weeks are left in the Texas Legislature’s 140-day regular legislative session, and the pace is picking up enormously.

Last week, in one 15-minute recess in the House, at least half a dozen hasty committee meetings were going on at members’ desks. That’s because until the last few weeks, it’s been rather slow in the House, where new Speaker Joe Straus and a considerable number of House members are learning the ropes.

That’s partly because almost exactly half the 150 House members are in a new ball game. The only speaker those members had served under during the last six years was the autocratic Republican, Tom Craddick, and the freshmen newcomers hadn’t even had that experience.

So for legislators who hadn’t served under Craddick’s predecessor, the much more member-oriented Democrat Pete Laney, they’re having to learn how the House and its committees operate when the speaker isn’t calling most of the shots.

Even for those who served under Laney, many had not been committee chairmen; Craddick took care of that when he engineered House redistricting by the Legislative Redistricting Board in 2001 which helped retire more than a dozen Democratic chairmen under Laney. And for those who did have some experience with autonomy in the House, that memory was at least six years ago.

The narrow 76-74 Republican advantage over the Democrats set the stage for Republican Straus and a handful of Republicans to partner with most of the Democrats to wrench the speakership from Craddick.

But even though the Democrats backed Straus – anything to get Craddick out of there – they’re going to be working hard over the next year and a half to net enough additional seats in 2010 to elect a speaker of their own.

Those efforts are soft pedaled for the time being, while the Legislature is meeting, said Rep. Jim Dunnam, D-Waco, chairman of the Texas Democratic House Campaign Committee.

“During session, we don’t focus on that,” Dunham said. “We try to do what our constituents want.”

That, Dunnam said, would include things like fully funding the state’s participation in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), to maximize the amount of federal money available to the state.

For that reason, Dunnam said, attention also has to be paid in 2010 to races bigger than just for the House.

“I think it’s really important that we begin to really start focusing on running statewide,” Dunnam said. “With (Republican Gov. Rick) Perry obstructing policy, we have to have a new governor.”

More Republican House incumbents are threatened in competitive districts than Democrats, Dunnam said.

“They (the Republicans) drew this redistricting map, and it’s coming back to haunt them,” Dunnam said. “I think they’ve cut the districts too close, assuming that the state would continue trending Republican. But it’s coming back (in a Democratic direction).”

Rep. Brian McCall, one of the 11 Republicans who met and chose Straus from among themselves as their consensus choice to contest Craddick for speaker, said “I would assume that if there’s a Democratic majority, there’ll be a Democratic speaker.”

However, if a Democratic majority is by only one or two votes, McCall said, “there are some Democrats, that have been treated fairly and have seen the way the House has operated, that would stick with the current speaker.”

# # #

Leave Texas Alone — Well, Sort Of. . . . One risks whiplash watching Gov. Perry rain on the federal government.

On April 7, Perry stood outside his capitol office flanked by 30 House members – all of them fellow Republicans except Democrat Ryan Guillen of Rio Grande City – to call for re-emphasizing the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which calls for states’ rights.

“I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state,” said Perry, who is expecting a re-election challenge from Republican U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

That was on a Thursday. On Friday, Perry’s office put out a press release saying he was reiterating his request that the Federal Emergency Management Agency provide federal money and fire-fighting resources to help the state battle ongoing wildfires. Perry had requested such a declaration on Feb. 24, it was denied March 17, and appealed on March 20.

Looks like Texas needs some help from those oppressive old feds after all.

Bush hopes history is kind to his legacy

After George W. Bush witnessed the swearing in of America’s first African-American president Tuesday, he headed for Texas for a brief ceremonial stop in his former hometown of Midland.

Then he and wife Laura reboarded the presidential plane sent to carry him back to Texas, and headed on to his first night as a former president at his ranch near Crawford.

The stop in Midland was somewhat ceremonial. Not only was it his last stop before heading off to the White House after he was confirmed as president eight years ago; it’s also a place where he could face a welcoming and appreciative crowd.

As he demonstrated at a final press conference recently, he will also be reflecting on his legacy. Perhaps he’ll be wondering: will his tenure be judged primarily by the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that he authorized and leaves behind? Or by his administration’s bungled response in 2005 to Hurricane Katrina? Or by the direst economic collapse since the Great Depression of the 1930s?

He can’t help but hope that he is treated more kindly by historians in coming decades than he is by the public, where polls showed his approval rating had reached historic lows.

He well remembers that Democratic President Harry S Truman suffered from high disapproval when he left office in 1953, but over the years came to be judged much more positively.

The Austin American-Statesman recently noted in an editorial that even though it had endorsed him both times he ran for president, “we don’t deny the obvious: Bush as president failed, and that failure has hurt the nation.”

Bush’s White House website has sought to stress what he considers his achievements, listing dozens of them. Even some critics, like The New York Times’ editorial page, while panning his overall performance as president, nonetheless praised him for efforts in health care, including:

— Stressing the nation’s interest in the global effort to control AIDS and fight malaria and tuberculosis around the world;

— Pushing through a costly new prescription drug benefit under Medicare despite opposition from Republicans;

— More than doubling federal financing for community health centers in areas where medical care otherwise is in short supply.

Bush credited his dramatic tax cuts with helping push an economic growth that saw jobs increase for 52 straight months. But critics contend his fiscal policies and relaxation of regulatory standards helped lead to the economic crisis.

Bush also pushed faith-based initiatives.

He takes credit for no additional successful assaults on the United States since the terrorists crashed hijacked airliners into the Twin Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington on Sept. 11, 2001.

“After the attacks of 9/11, my mission was to protect the homeland and to put tools in place to enable future presidents to protect the homeland,” Bush told Texas reporters in a Jan. 9 Oval Office conversation. “And that has been accomplished. There hasn’t been another attack.”

The 9/11 attack boosted Bush’s popularity, and his making the 2002 elections a referendum on him, even though he wasn’t on the ballot, helped the GOP gain congressional seats.

But after Bush pushed for war in Iraq, that bloody, costly effort eventually soured for the public after the weapons of mass destruction cited to justify the invasion never materialized, and no connection was ever proven between the 9/11 attacks and the Saddam Hussein regime.

Bush, who had been a popular Texas governor, and teamed up with Democratic Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock and House Speaker Pete Laney, talked of taking bipartisanship to Washington. But despite initial partisan cooperation on the No Child Left Behind education act, Bush found there was no love-fest in the nation’s capitol like the one he’d experienced in Texas.

Bush admitted failures on trying to privatize Social Security, and to get an immigration bill that was fought largely by Republicans in Congress.

But he has gotten high marks for his cooperation with the incoming Barack Obama administration on the transition, and from environmentalists for declaring several hundred square miles of territory around the Marianas Trench in the Pacific ocean, the deepest part of the ocean, a Marine National Monument.

Bush told the Texas reporters he’ll “let history be the judge” of his administration. “I will tell you this. I have a great sense of accomplishment, and I am going home with my head held high.”

After a few days on their Crawford ranch, the Bushes plan to move into another home they have purchased in Dallas. He indicated he’ll spend some time making speeches, and be a presence at his presidential library and institute to be built at Southern Methodist University.

Otherwise, he said at a Jan. 12 final press conference, “I’m getting off the stage. I’ve had my time in the klieg lights.”

A Running Mate is more than a Ticket-Balancer

The speculation continues about potential running mates for Democrat Barack Obama, 48, and Republican John McCain, who will turn 72 on Aug. 29.

But we should remember that it really does matter who is sitting second chair. While it’s certainly understandable that winning the election is important, that vice-presidential nominee should be more than a geographical, ideological or experiential ticket-balancer. They should be capable to take over the job as seamlessly as possible.

In the meantime, not only can an appropriately wise vice president provide good counsel and help to the president, he or she will have a pretty good shot at becoming president themselves. More about that later.

Of course, for a presidential candidate to become president, he or she first must win the election. And there certainly has been more than passing attention paid to that by presidential hopefuls.

The prospect of winning states not usually carried by Democratic presidential candidates certainly adds to the allure to Obama of Indiana’s Evan Bayh, 52, a senator and former governor; Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, 64 and Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia, 50. For McCain, he’s OK on defense and foreign policy, and Washington experience. He may need more appeal to his party’s conservative wing, perhaps some regional balance, and someone like a governor who’s actually run something. And maybe someone quite a bit younger.

Among the names being noised around are former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 61, considered a business whiz; Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, 52, a younger man from a swing state; and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, 52, who as a Baptist preacher has better credentials with the religious right than McCain.

The vice presidency is one of the best vantage points to run for president. It carries a 50-state identification, a national political organizational base, and a reputation as someone sitting close to the captain’s seat.

Of the 18 presidents of the 20th Century, seven served as vice presidents first, five of them when the president died or resigned.

Of the 10 running mates from 1940 through 2000 who served as vice president, four became president, and three others were their party’s nominee for president but lost.

The four running mates who later became president were Democrats Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson, and Republicans Richard Nixon and George Bush. (Gerald Ford became president when Richard Nixon resigned, but hadn’t been Nixon’s election running mate; he was appointed vice president to replace Spiro Agnew, who resigned.)

The three vice presidents who later became presidential nominees but then lost the election were Democrats Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale and Al Gore.

The three running mates who became vice president but never president or their party’s nominee were Democrat Alben Barkley and Republicans Spiro Agnew and Dan Quayle.

What considerations do presidential nominees go through in making this first most important decision?

In 1980, Ronald Reagan picked primary election rival George Bush, even though Bush had derided Reagan’s budget proposals as “Voodoo Economics.” To Reagan, Bush provided the former California governor a real war record, Washington balance and experience, strength in the Northeast, and some moderation (even though Bush had an election-year conversion to opposing a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion, and downplayed the Voodoo to get on the ticket).

In 1992, Democratic Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton forgot regional balance and picked then-U.S. Sen. Gore of adjoining Tennessee because of his good environmental record, Washington Senate and House experience, Vietnam war service, family values, and an organization and a past thoroughly vetted by the press from his own presidential run four years earlier.

In 1984, Democrat Walter Mondale hoped his selection of U.S. Rep. Geraldine Ferraro of New York, the first woman vice presidential nominee, would provide some pizzazz to capitalize on the women’s vote. That didn’t happen.

In 1988, George Bush picked unknown U.S. Sen. Dan Quayle of Indiana to cater to the Republican right, and who wouldn’t outshine him. Quayle proved an embarrassment, but Bush won anyway.

One Democratic consultant said that all of the attention paid by the Democrats and press to string-pulling to get Quayle into the National Guard to avoid Vietnam service was time and energy misspent, that they should have been using to tout Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis.

Bush, despite Quayle, beat Dukakis, who picked Texas U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen for Washington, regional and ideological balance. The moderate-conservative Bentsen might have won, but Dukakis couldn’t.

In 1972, Democrat George McGovern picked U.S. Sen. Thomas Eagleton of Missouri, but dumped him after learning Eagleton had had shock treatments for depression. Peace Corps Director Sargent Shriver, a Kennedy brother-in-law, instead was chosen for what turned out to be a kamikaze mission against Richard Nixon’s re-election.

And George W. Bush chose Dick Cheney because he had Washington, foreign policy and defense credentials, and didn’t want to run for president.

In a few weeks, Obama and McCain will announce their running mates – who might be president themselves someday.

Why Perry Dumped Shirley as Education Commissioner

If it were a comedy, it might be called “How Perry Cut Shirley.”
Dr. Shirley Neeley, the former superintendent of schools in Galena Park who Gov. Rick Perry named the Texas Commissioner of Education in early 2004, left that job July 1, after learning in mid-June that Perry wouldn’t re-appoint her.
It started better. On Jan. 12, 2004, Perry called her “a results-driven educator (whose) focus on high standards and classroom excellence, her refusal to accept the status quo or conventional wisdom, and her proven track record of success make her the ideal Texan to lead the Texas Education Agency.”
At the end, “The Governor felt that it was the appropriate time for new leadership and a new energy at the Texas Education Agency,” said Perry spokesman Robert Black. “Over the last few years, he has been disappointed in the agency’s lack of action to deal with the accusations of cheating in our public schools. He looks forward to bringing in someone who will take decisive action to deal with this issue and be willing to work hard to take education in Texas to the next level.”
Neeley, the first woman to head the TEA, took her ouster like a – well, philosophically.
“I can compare my situation to that of a superintendent when a school board decides to take no action or not extend their contract,” she wrote in a letter to TEA employees. “Anyway you look at it, the message is clear: when it is time to go, it is time to go.”

Although evidence of widespread cheating on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test, known as TAKS, may have been a big part of it, some think Neeley had tired of cheerleading for Perry. And there was tension with her deputy commissioner, Robert Scott, who served as interim commissioner before she arrived and now since she’s gone.
Neeley had overseen impressive improvement in student test scores during her tenure at Galena Park, despite its lower middle-class status. She had been appointed by Perry in early 2004 to succeed Dr. Felipe Alanis. His tenure of just over a year as Texas Education Commissioner had ended on July 31, 2003. When Alanis left, Perry sent over his staff education adviser, Robert Scott, to temporarily head the agency.
Scott, 38, was no stranger to TEA. He was there from November of 1994, following a stint on the Washington staff of U.S. Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston, until early 2001.
Wizened viewers say Neeley had gotten infatuated with the TEA post before she ever took it, and made a mistake in not claiming more power at the outset. Agency employees had been reporting to Interim Commissioner Scott, who reported to the governor. Neeley agreed to keep that arrangement – becoming, in essence, a figurehead.
Neeley said when she took office that teachers and administrators should not fear school choice —AKA vouchers, a Perry pet project. But vouchers not only never got off the ground, they have lost ground.
An occurrence in mid-2005 may help explain why Neeley began to assert herself. Perry invited her to a press conference. During it, he unveiled an executive order that 65 percent of state money for schools be spent in the classroom.
It was the first she’d heard of it. She was blindsided. She had no part in developing it, but was left, flat-footed, to try to explain and defend it to the state’s superintendents and principals.
It was then, observers say, she began to regain her voice. A seasoned adminstrator as a superintendent, she began to assert herself more in policy. She decided her loyalty wasn’t to the governor’s politics, but to superintendents, principals, teachers.
Although as recently as the end of May Neeley told a reporter that because her re-appointment hadn’t come up all through the spring legislative session, she was confident of re-appointment. She was wrong.
The Dallas Morning News editorialized against Perry picking Scott as his real rather than interim commissioner, on grounds he was around when the TAKS test problems occurred, and the agency needs someone with experience in classrooms or school administration. But sources say the state’s superintendents would prefer Scott to some alternatives mentioned.
Those include four who served with Perry in the Texas House of Representatives: former House Education Committee chairman Kent Grusendorf; Texas Association of Business head Bill Hammond; former House Appropriations Committee chair Talmadge Heflin; and Ric Williamson, chairman of the Texas Department of Transportion. Others mentioned include former Bush Administration education official Sandy Kress, and voucher and alternative teacher certification supporter Jim Windham of Houston.
The Austin American-Statesman editorially suggested appointing former state Sen. and acting Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff, a Mount Pleasant Republican who chaired the Senate Education Committee and now heads up Raise Your Hand Texas, a group dedicated to supporting Texas public schools. But in a Rick Perry Administration, that is unlikely.
Meanwhile, Neeley, 59, ((DOB 6/18/48)) wrote on the TEA website that she revisited priorities after her melanoma returned May 24, after 22 years free of cancer.
“We need to remind ourselves what’s really important in life,” Neeley said: husband Bill, her 80-year-old mother, three precious grandsons, daughter, son-in-law—and time to ride Harleys, continue ranching, travel and cross-stitch.
Adios, TEA.

If Bush loses, what happens in Texas?

BOSTON — Even while busy officially nominating John Kerry for president, Texas Democrats concede President Bush is almost certain to win his home state. The Texas delegation held up red cards during Wednesday night’s presidential roll-call to signify Texas is a “red” Republican state on electoral maps.

But to demonstrate their hopes for the future, the delegates flipped the cards to show the blue on the other side — for a Democratic “blue” state.

“We certainly can make Texas a blue state again,” Former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros told the delegates at their breakfast meeting Thursday. ((7/29/04)) “There is no reason in the world that the Republicans have to control every statewide office in Texas.”

If Texas Democrats help get out the vote in neighboring states, including some Bush carried in 2000, they can help put Kerry in the White House. And that can reverberate in Texas much sooner than might have seemed possible, Cisneros said.

Several states Bush carried in 2000 have elected Democratic governors or senators, Cisneros said. If Texas Democrats help in states such as Indiana, Missouri and Arkansas, Kerry might carry them too, Cisneros said.

With Kerry in the White House, “we will remove the dominance of the George Bush machine in Texas” and de-fang Bush political adviser Karl Rove, Cisneros predicted. With Bush gone, Democrats could rebound in Texas, Cisneros said.

“Texas at heart is not a Republican state.”

Democratic Congressman Gene Green of Houston called on the delegates to help preserve five Democratic congressmen “in peril because of Tom DeLay,” plus several tight races for the Texas House of Representatives.

DeLay, the Republican House majority leader from Sugar Land, engineered the first mid-decade congressional redistricting not ordered by the courts, with the aim of unseating several Texas Democrats. They include Lloyd Doggett of Austin, Chet Edwards of Waco, Charles Stenholm of Stamford, Martin Frost of Arlington, Max Sandlin of Marshall, and Nick Lampson of Beaumont. Doggett’s new district, which reaches to the Mexican border, leans heavily Democratic, but the others have tough races, including two — Frost and Stenholm — against Republican incumbents.

Congressman Ciro Rodriguez of San Antonio, whose district was reconfigured enough that he may have lost a hotly contested primary to a former friend from the Texas House of Representatives, Henry Cuellar of Laredo, said Democrats have the potential to win.

“We have the numbers to turn it around,” Rodriguez said. “The key is turning them out.”

Congressman Jim Turner of Crockett in East Texas, another Texas Democrat whose district was reconfigured so much that he didn’t seek reelection, said by helping his colleagues survive politically, the Democrats can build political momentum.

“Let’s make Democrats the majority party in Texas again,” said Turner.

Governor’s Race Already Heating Up

Governor’s field in 2006 likely to be crowded
Rick Perry wants a record: ten years as Texas governor

Republican Bill Clements served eight, but separated by four years of Democrat Mark White.

The late Allan Shivers, a Democrat then, had the most consecutive years. He moved from lieutenant governor when Beauford Jester died in 1949, and served seven and a half years.

But with Perry’s approval rating low, folks are eyeing his job.

Perry’s fellow Democrat-turned-Republican, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, has mounted the most open intra-party race against an incumbent since then-Comptroller Bob Bullock announced on inauguration day he would run against White in four years. He backed out, however.

Strayhorn says Perry has hurt Texas kids in education and health, and claims he got the state auditor to compare her tax collection policies with her campaign contributors, which Perry denies.

But she’d probably need a substantial crossover of Democrats into the Republican primary to win.

Republican U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison hasn’t ruled out a race either.

But credit for heading the ticket with a no-brainer re-election in 2006, to aim for a slot on a national ticket in 2008, might be better for Hutchison than a mean GOP primary where Perry would hammer her less-than-total opposition to abortion enough that she might lose.

George W. Bush’s commerce secretary and fund-raising buddy, Don Evans, and wordsmith. Karen Hughes, are mentioned. But Evans pooh-poohs the idea, and Hughes isn’t thought likely.

However, if Bush loses this year, some Bush heavy hitters could return to Texas looking for things to do.

The most likely Democrat eyeing the office is former Comptroller John Sharp. He lost to Perry for lieutenant governor in 1998, and to David Dewhurst in 2002.

Sharp co-hosted an open-bar free reception at the recent Democratic State Convention in Houston, and shook more hands than a governor at an inauguration.

Laredo’s Tony Sanchez, whose $60 million of his own money didn’t prevent Perry from stomping him in 2002, also was at the convention. But without a better explanation for not knowing that $25 million in drug
money went through his savings and loan, it’s uphill.

Other Democrats to be considered: former Austin Mayor Kirk Watson, who lost for attorney general in 2002; GSD&M head man Roy Spence, Bill Clinton’s buddy, preaching a populist message; and Dallas Mayor Laura

Former Land Commissioner Garry Mauro and former Attorney General Jim Mattox both have lost governor’s races, and still love politics .

Iconoclastic humorist Kinky Friedman hints at an independent campaign. His Perry-jabbing slogan: “Why the hell not? How hard could it be?”

Perry is the second to have a shot at serving ten years. The first was Democrat Dolph Briscoe. He sought another four years, after serving one term of two years and one of four.

But then-Atty. Gen. John Hill beat him in the primary and then lost to Clements.

Contact McNeely at 512/445-3644 or