Busy morning, so here’s an aggrepost to capture it all …

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst announces he’s running for Senate.

The drawn-out competition for the GOP side of the Senate race has been thinned out as State Sen. Florence Shapiro has long since bowed out (March of last year, to be precise) and the two Williams (Michael & Roger) have decided to take their joust to the newly drawn CD33 seat that includes the logical communities of interest: Arlington and Weatherford. That leaves the GOP to settle on RR Commish/interior decorator Elizabeth Ames Jones, former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, and maybe even the still-exploring St. Sen. Dan Patrick for alternatives. Ricardo Sanchez seems to be in for Dems. Or so I’m told.

The above means that the natural merry-go-round of political opportunists begin to look upward. Land Commish Jerry Patterson has announced for Lt. Gov. The same article references that St. Sen. Todd Staples is officially “exploring” the race and that Comptroller Susan Combs is on the “maybe” list. How Combs sees her future after her recent mismanagement of state data is a bit baffling. If nothing else, I suppose losing in a crowded primary election field gives her a polite exit from public life.

Elsewhere, Texas appears to be pulling “a Virginia” with their preclearance route for redistricting maps – make an official appeal for a bailout and seek a 3-judge panel to pre-clear the maps, and send an “informal”/just-in-case notice to the Justice Department in case the judges notice that Texas isn’t eligible for the bailout. For the obsessive, here’s the full submission. For the observant, I’ll note that the filename on that link misspells “complaint” as “compliant.” Or maybe that’s supposed to be a subliminal message. In any event, some interesting language is on display here:

This complaint is filed under the assumption that Section 5 complies with the United States Constitution. The State reserves all applicable legal claims in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Northwest Austin Mun. Util. Dist. No. One v. Holder, 129 S.Ct. 2504, 2511-13 (2009) (raising serious questions regarding the constitutionality of Section 5), and pending this Court’s decisions in Shelby County, Ala. v. Holder, No. 10-00651, (D.D.C.), and Laroque v. Holder, No. 10-00561 (D.D.C.).

I’m not sure what the timeline is on the Supreme Court deciding any of the challenges to Section 5, but it would appear to me that this phrasing offers a back door to re-redistricting in the event that the present map gets pushed back by either DOJ or a 3-judge panel. That would conceivably happen if enough folks in the Lege aren’t happy with the end result (ie – 2012 election outcome) of whatever map makes it out of the pre-clearance round and see fit to alter it more to their liking after 2012. Something for the media to ask Greg Abbott if he gears up for the Lt. Gov. gig, I suppose.

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