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The state of the Governor’s race

So we know that Tom Schieffer is in. So are Mark Thompson and Felix Alvarado. Ronnie Earle may or may not be in. Hank Gilbert now says that he’s in. Kinky (sigh) is fixing to be in. Some people think that one or the other of Bill White and John Sharp ought to be in. Here’s what I think.

I think we’ll have a pretty good idea soon if the fundraising will exists to make one of these people a serious challenger for the Governor’s mansion. I was on a conference call with Gilbert and a number of my blogging colleagues yesterday morning, and one of the things he said was that he’s set a goal of raising $100K online between now and his official launch on September 21. I don’t know if he can do this, but I do agree that if he does, he’ll establish himself as a viable contender, and that it will make it easier for him to attract support from the conventional donors. (Though it must be noted that this doesn’t necessarily follow. Just ask Rick Noriega about that.) Schieffer’s recent announcement about receiving endorsements from House Democratic leaders may be an indication that the establishment has decided to coalesce around him; if so, expect him to post better fundraising numbers for the third and fourth quarters. And despite adamant denials about changing races from White and Sharp, I believe that one of them, most likely the one who has had the least success in raising money for the Senate race, could be cajoled into switching if a promise of an open money spigot came with it.

Basically, my thesis is that the Democratic donor class has finally started to wake up to the realization that there’s an excellent chance Rick Perry will be on the ballot for another term in November, and that unless they get in the game, there’s an even better chance he’ll get it. Six months ago, they could have rationalized that Kay Bailey Hutchison was inevitable, but as she has morphed into Strayhorn 2.0, such thinking is increasingly wishful. Barring any Tuesday morning surprises, the options are to actually support the Democratic ticket (I know, what a radical concept) or brace yourself for four more years. And if you’re going to choose the former, you may as well get started now and have a say in who will be at the top of that ticket. Oh, and if you’re going to do that, you may as well go ahead and fill out the rest of the ticket as well, lest all the resources Democrats put in to retaking the State House get wiped out by an all-Republican (or four-fifths Republican if there’s a Democratic Speaker) Legislative Redisctricting Board. Why make 2012 a repeat of 2002 if you don’t have to?

So keep an eye on the fundraising, and see if any more Democratic elected officials start giving endorsements. If there’s a frontrunner for the nomination, we’ll know it soon enough. Hopefully, along with all that will come candidates for the remaining offices, with each of them having decent fundraising potential. Honestly, it’s not too much to ask, is it?

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6 Comments

  1. Baby Snooks says:

    If he manages to win the primary, Kinky possibly could become governor by default. Or dementia.

    I still say there will be a “Democrats for Kay” and she might win the primary. At which point, well, everyone will find out there is something worse than Rick Perry.

    Democrats can only win if they offer someone at least palatable. Tony Sanchez proved that. How many millions did he spend?

    Kinky by the way is palatable. He might start saying NO to the corporate interests who have controlled both the governor’s mansion and the legislature for far too long. Which appeals to a growing number of Republicans who unlike Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison cannot say NO to the corporate interests. Wave enough money around and they are yours.

    Both supported the bailout of Wall Street but not the bailout of Main Street. They both forgot that quite a few Republicans live on Main Street.

  2. Baby Snooks says:

    Which appeals to a growing number of Republicans who unlike Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison cannot say NO to the corporate interests. Wave enough money around and they are yours.
    ________________________

    Coffee deprivation does strange things. That should have read a growing number of Republicans who will vote for someone who unlike Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison CAN say NO to the corporate interests. Wave enough money around the Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison are yours.

  3. Brown Bess says:

    So, as strange as this feels, I’m going to type that, among current candidates, probably only the Kinkster can bring some Repub voters into the fold. He’s got that little bit of Elvis in him that Tom and Hank (and Sharp) lack. I don’t think there’s a natural-born politician among those guys.

    But I also think an Earle candidacy, with its emphasis on ethics and populism, could be the anti-Perry Rx for many. At first glance, the Gov would clean Earle’s clock but good, but Ronnie wouldn’t be running a politics-as-usual campaign. He’s not Kay. He’s not Sanchez. He’s not like anyone Perry has run against and Mofo might be too cleaver by half in responding to the threat.

  4. AL ZOLLI says:

    Would a Democratic candidate actually be brave enough to take on issues such as illegal immigration and the health care problems in Texas that can bring middle of the road voters to the Democratic side?? Will the candidate be willing to secure the Texas border, not just an empty campaign promise but actual action?

    Or, just like with the Republicans, will it be the same old tired garbage??

  5. Laura says:

    Why aren’t Dems rallying around KBH? A Democrat will not be elected in 2010 for governor in Texas.

    Why aren’t Dems rallying around her now, pre-primary, encouraging MAJOR, ACROSS-THE-BOARD crossover in March? Why don’t we all agree – acknowledge – it’s a lost cause and choose the more moderate of the two GOP candidates?

    Why? This is not a rhetorical question. I’d love to know.

  6. DK says:

    Texas Dems know a sinking ship when they see one. Believe you me we do. It would take a herculean effort by the Dems to save Kay Bailey now. And it likely wouldn’t work, so we’d just end up with eggs in our faces after having abandoned our own party.

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