Here comes Kinky, in case anyone still cares.
Humorist Richard “Kinky” Friedman, loved by some and loathed by others, is running for governor again – this time as a Democrat.
Unlike the launch of his 2006 campaign as an independent, there were no banners, no bunting, no crowds of people, no network feeds nor dawn at the Alamo for Friedman’s announcement Tuesday. Instead, he announced his intentions in one-on-one interviews with members of the Texas news media.
“I’veseen the light. I should have run as a Democrat last time,” Friedman said. “We’ve got a smart president, and now we need a smart governor.”
I’m going to be nice, just this once, and let that one slide. I don’t see Friedman having any of the assets he had going into the 2006 race – energized supporters, money, a cool/anti-establishment vibe that got him way more media exposure than he ultimately deserved – and as such, I don’t believe he will attract much support in the primary, especially given how much animosity a lot of Dems still feel towards him. If nothing else, I think Hank Gilbert totally steals his thunder as the wisecracking rednecky type who gives good quotes and gets his name in the papers, with Hank having a vastly better relationship with the Democratic base. A Kinky/Schieffer matchup might have been interesting in that it would have forced the Dems who have issues with Schieffer to make a choice about whether those issues are enough to give the finger to the rest of the Democratic ticket. Now they have Hank and can express their disapproval with a clear conscience.
Anyway. For these reasons among others, I don’t see Friedman as being a factor in the race. I could be wrong, and I am looking forward to seeing his next campaign finance report, but I expect there will be much less to say about Kinky this time around than there was in 2006. And for that, I’m grateful.
UPDATE: LegeLand has more.
UPDATE: I’m not the only one who thinks Kinky 2.0 is doomed to fail:
“I honestly don’t believe Kinky Friedman will ever do anything in the course of his candidacy to lead a critical mass of Democratic voters to believe he’s serious,” Democratic consultant Harold Cook said. “But if I’m wrong about that, he will be facing questions about his qualifications as a Democrat. He only decided to run as a Democrat when all his other options failed.”
Friedman may also struggle to again excite voters who liked the idea of an irreverent candidate shunning the traditional political system.
Laura Stromberg, who was Friedman’s press secretary in 2006, said the conditions that provided an ideal scenario for his candidacy in that race — a fractured electorate, the novelty of an independent candidate — don’t exist anymore.
“If he didn’t win in 2006, he can’t possibly pull it off in 2010,” Stromberg said.