CAMPAIGN WATCH: For the first time in decades, Texas voters have a choice in determining a presidential nominee especially in the wide-open race on the Democratic side between Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton. Early voting started Tuesday and runs through the end of the month for the March 4 primaries. —. . .— With statewide polls of likely voters suggesting the former first lady’s lead here is narrowing or gone, Clinton’s camp said it would “concede absolutely nothing,” the Dallas Morning News reports. She may not can count on broad Latino support that carried her to victory in California earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reports. To wit, the newspaper notes that State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. campaigned with Clinton in South Texas last week but his twentysomething son, State Rep. Eddie Lucio III, is an Obama organizer. The University of Texas’ Daily Texan interviews former Land Commissioner Gary Mauro, Clinton’s Texas campaign chair, who says his candidate “has what it takes to get there.” —. . .— The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News cover Obama’s Lone Star state campaign kickoff in the state’s two most populous cities. Speaking to an estimated 19,000 people at Houston’s Toyota Center minutes after his decisive victory in Wisconsin became evident, Obama said, “We do know this, Houston: The change we seek is still months away and we need the good people of Texas to get there.” Even the daily newspaper of bright, bright red Comal County’s seat, the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung, makes it down to San Antonio to file a breathless report on Obama’s visit. —. . .— IN OTHER NEWS: The Austin American-Statesman reports, and the Associated Press carries, news that 48 percent of food stamp applications in Texas are taking longer than the 30-day processing period required by federal law, compared to 95 percent nationwide. State Rep. Patrick M. Rose, who represents San Marcos and chairs the House’s Health and Human Services committee, says the State Health Services department’s troubled new TIERS computer system is not helping an ‘abysmally low’ number of applications reviewed within the timeline. —. . .— The Statesman also brings news of Texas State University graduate and San Marcos resident Kylie Neighbors, 24, pleading guilty to having sex with a male student at Blanco High School where she taught English and coached volleyball.
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