As the gravitational pull of the 2014 elections weighs ever closer upon Texas, the Republican party’s dominoes seem to be falling in line. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is off to pretty massive start, having well over $20 million dollars in the bank for his Gubernatorial campaign. But even all that money hasn’t bought Abbott a flawless start to his campaign, which is good news for Democrats. His only challenger thus far for the GOP Primaries is Tom Pauken.
Texpatriate has done a fantastic job of tracking how the 2014 ballot is shaping up. Here are the basics…
Lieutenant Governor (David Dewhurst) Candidates– David Dewhurst- GOP incumbent Lt. Governor, Jerry Patterson- GOP current Texas Land Commissioner, Todd Staples- GOP current Ag Commissioner, and Dan Patrick- GOP State Senator.
Attorney General (Greg Abbott) Candidates– Dan Branch- GOP State Rep, Barry Smitherman- GOP Railroad Commissioner, and Ken Paxton- GOP State Senator.
Comptroller (Susan Combs- GOP incumbent… retiring) Candidates– Glenn Hegar- GOP State Senator, Debra Medina- GOP/ Libertarian and 2010 Gubernatorial candidate, Raul Torres- GOP and former State Rep., and Mike Collier- Democrat and businessman. Harvey Hildebrand- GOP State Rep is also expected to run.
Land Commissioner (Jerry Patterson) Candidates– George P. Bush- GOP attorney and well named offspring, David Watts- GOP businessman, and John Cook- Democrat former El Paso mayor.
Agriculture Commissioner (Tood Staples) Candidates– Tommy Merritt- GOP former State Rep., Eric Opiela- Former Texas GOP chair, and Brandon Creighton- GOP State Rep.
Railroad Commission (Barry Smitherman- GOP incumbent… running for Lt. Gov.) Candidates– Stefani Carter- GOP State Rep, and Malachi Boyuls- GOP businessman.
With John Cook and Mike Collier (thanks for the tip PDiddie) being the only Democrats in the races thus far, it’s clear that the party is going to have to start far behind the gate. But hopefully not too much longer, as word of Wendy Davis’ decision of what to run for is expected as soon as this week.
Once that big announcement happens though, Texas Democrats have a lot of work to do to get candidates lined up for the remaining 6 statewide offices. Here are some other folks that I hope considering a run…
Joaquin Castro— Though his brother Julian may have pledged to be “Mayor of San Antonio through 2017”, the freshman United States Congressman has made no such pledge to stay in Washington. And given the complete lack of leadership within the House of Representatives, he may just decide that Austin is calling him back. After all he, unlike his brother, spent 10 years in the Texas House of Representatives, and has better name ID than virtually any other Democrat in the state. It would be a big shocker if he were to announce for Attorney General or Lieutenant Governor, and would change the game for Texas Democrats in 2014. Quite interesting how he’s managed to let his brother have so much of the national spotlight. And in the case of a statewide run, that could actually turn out to be a good thing.
Leticia Van De Putte— as Off the Kuff has mentioned, the State Senator is widely considered to be the Democratic frontrunner for the Lieutenant Governer’s race, but she could be a credible candidate for some other races as well. Davis and Van De Putte would be a substantial pair, with both significant name recognition and solid records in the State Senate. Once Davis decides, she’d likely be the next person Democrats will look to.
Ana Hernandez Luna— Another clear and present rising star, the State Representative from Houston is a talented organizer and understands the political game from every side. Hernandez Luna gained national attention for fighting the 2011 sanctuary cities’ bill. She shared her story of being born in Mexico, living as an illegal immigrant, and finally gaining US Citizenship. Her jump to a statewide office would likely help forge new energy among Texas Democrats.
Trey Martinez-Fischer— the State Representative has spearheaded several battles… both within the Legislature and legally against Attorney General Greg Abbott in the Texas Redistricting saga. The skilled politician is known to Texas Democrats as a true fighter, and a statewide office would allow him an even better platform to fight for Texans. His activism has even extended to President Obama, when he attended a private meeting at the White House about the Voting Rights Act.
It’s a risky proposition for any politician, but once they see the flood of money Davis brings in when she announces, I think some brave Texas Democrats will be willing to join the fray.