The Brief: Ted Cruz Absorbs a Snub and a Diss in Iowa
The Big Conversation
Sarah Palin was a huge boon to Ted Cruz in 2012 when she came to Texas to throw her support behind his bid for the U.S. Senate. On Tuesday, though, she snubbed Cruz to endorse Donald Trump for president.
The Tribune’s Patrick Svitek wrote:
While Palin’s star has faded since her vice presidential run, she retains some sway with the anti-establishment voters Cruz and Trump are vying for as the race tightens in Iowa, home to the first nominating contest. The Trump campaign needled Cruz in its announcement of Palin’s endorsement, citing a 2013 speech in which Cruz cited Palin’s own enthusiastic endorsement of his 2012 Senate run as proof that Palin knows how to “pick winners.”
If Cruz was stung by Palin’s choice, he wasn’t publicly showing it on Tuesday. Speaking to reporters in New Hampshire, Cruz said, “Sarah Palin is fantastic. Without her friendship and support, I wouldn’t be in the Senate today, and so regardless of what Sarah decides to do in 2016, I will always remain a big, big fan of Sarah Palin.”
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Cruz received an outright diss from Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad who answered, “Yes,” when asked if he would like to see the Texas senator defeated in the Iowa caucuses.
While the governor’s unusually blunt assessment of Cruz raised eyebrows, the two men have clashed over Cruz’s opposition to government mandates on the inclusion of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply.
Cruz responded this way: “It is no surprise that the establishment is in full panic mode. As conservatives unite behind our campaign, you’re going to see the Washington cartel firing every shot they can, every cannon they can.”
Trib Must Reads
University Officials to Defend Expansion Plans, by Matthew Watkins — University leaders from across Texas may face tough audiences this week as they are asked to explain their ambitious expansion plans before two key higher education policy boards.
Texas Fights Back Against Judge’s Foster Care Reforms, by Edgar Walters — Despite a major victory in federal court last month, advocates for reforms to Texas’ long-term foster care system are steeling themselves for a lengthy battle to force Texas officials to follow through on changes ordered by a federal judge.
Ben Carson Campaign Volunteer From Texas Dies After Car Accident, by Patrick Svitek — Braden Joplin, a Texas Tech student who was in Iowa volunteering for Ben Carson’s presidential campaign, died Tuesday following a car accident.
Attorney General: Fantasy Sports Sites Involve Illegal Gambling, by Johnathan Silver — While placing bets in fantasy sports leagues may involve skill, there is still an element of chance that would equate such leagues with illegal gambling in Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a nonbinding opinion released Tuesday.
Ex-Texas Agriculture Commission Worker Alleges Discrimination, by Jim Malewitz — Shelia Latting, who is black, filed a lawsuit in state district court in Travis County Tuesday, claiming she lost her job a year ago as deputy chief financial officer due to racial discrimination at the agency.
DPS Director: Sandra Bland Escalation Trooper’s Fault, by Johnathan Silver — Texas Department of Public Safety director Steve McCraw said Tuesday that Trooper Brian Encinia acted unprofessionally and violated protocol when he stopped Sandra Bland.
U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Obama’s Immigration Program, by Julián Aguilar — The U.S. Supreme Court decided on Tuesday to consider the Obama administration’s controversial immigration program, which has been on hold for nearly a year after being blocked by a Texas-based federal judge.
The Day Ahead
• The House Transportation Planning Committee will meet at 9 a.m. in the Capitol extension. Lawmakers will hear from the comptroller’s office about how much revenue is available for the new road funding propositions approved by voters in November.
• Also meeting at 9 a.m. in the Capitol extension is the House Higher Education Committee. They will discuss oversight and monitoring of the agencies that report to the committee, and talk about plans to expand programs at public universities.
• The House Urban Affairs Committee meets at 1 p.m. in the Capitol extension to discuss cities’ cybersecurity policies.
• Gov. Greg Abbott is spending his third day of his five-day international trip in Switzerland. The governor will hold a business roundtable and visit Burckhardt Compression.
• Comptroller Glenn Hegar will be the keynote speaker at the Texas Association of Business Annual Conference in Austin at 4:30 p.m.
• Candidates for Senate District 24 will meet for a forum hosted by the Central Texas Water Coalition in Lakeway at 6 p.m.
S.A. funding pitstop for Hillary Clinton, San Antonio Express-News
City to award $105 million Alamodome concessions contract, San Antonio Express-News
Traffic studies go in 2 directions on Dallas-area congestion, The Dallas Morning News
State officials want foster care reform requirements blocked, Austin American-Statesman
Ted Cruz hopes to replicate Reagan revolution in 2016 presidential bid, The Dallas Morning News
Finalists interviewing for dean of new Fort Worth medical school, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Daily fantasy sports debate moves to the Capitol now, Houston Chronicle
Petition likely to force defining election on Austin ride-hailing, Austin American-Statesman
Quote to Note
“What the heck would the establishment know about conservatism?”
— Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin alluding to critics of Donald Trump during her endorsement of the New York billionaire in Iowa.
Today in TribTalk
My journey with Bernie, by Richard Linklater — I had heard and seen all of Bernie Tiede’s testimony in the trial for his killing of Marjorie Nugent. I was looking closely for a steely killer hiding underneath the friendly veneer. It just wasn’t there.
Trib Events for the Calendar
• A Conversation with Comptroller Glenn Hegar on Jan. 21 at the Austin Club
• A Symposium on Urban Public Education on Jan. 22 at the University of Texas at El Paso
• A Conversation on Health Care: Bending the Cost Curve on Jan. 28 at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth
• The Texas Tribune’s second Texas-centric Trivia Night on Jan. 31 at The Highball in Austin
• A Conversation with Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer on Feb. 4 at the Austin Club
• A Conversation with Sen. José Menéndez on Feb. 11 at the Austin Club
• The Ticket: A Live Recording and Democratic Primary Debate Watch Party on Feb. 11 at KUT Public Media Studios in Austin
• A Conversation with Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. and Rep. Jose Manuel Lozano on Feb. 25 at Texas A&M University-Kingsville
• A Conversation with Sen. Carlos Uresti and Rep. Poncho Nevárez on March 23 at Sul Ross State University in Alpine
• A Symposium on Transportation on March 29 at Texas A&M University in College Station