Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, a ten-year incumbent who has nonetheless managed to claim the mantel of “outsider/insurgent” in the race for the 2012 GOP Senate nomination, will reportedly resign his post so as to actually be an outsider of some kind.
Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams likely will announced Wednesday that he will resign his seat to concentrate on a 2012 run for the seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Williams has been a candidate for the seat for more than a year, along with fellow Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones and former Secretary of State Roger Williams.
The main bits of interest for me in this is that it means Governor Perry gets to appoint Williams’ replacement on the RRC; that person would then have to be on the ballot in 2012 to finish out Williams’ term, which expires in 2014. If fellow Commissioner and Senate candidate Elizabeth Ames Jones, whose term on the RRC is up in 2012, stays in the Senate race, there would be two seats on the Commission up for election, with neither one having a candidate who had been previously voted in to that position. Assuming, of course, that the RRC is not disbanded as a result of its Sunset review.
Speaking of which, the Trib fills in the picture a bit more:
[The Sunset Advisory Commission] has recommended several changes at the agency, including one that would replace the three elected commissioners with just one. Williams praised that idea when it was proposed; now he’s leaving before the legislative debate on that and other changes can begin.
The resignation will let him focus on the Senate race. State officeholders are barred from raising money for state races while the Legislature is in session. They can raise money for federal races, but it creates an awkward situation where they are asking people who have a stake in what the Legislature is doing to give money to the politicians who might have some influence over that process.
This move gets Williams out of that trap, frees him to campaign, and lets him avoid any turmoil that might come out of the Sunset bill.
Gotta admit, it’s a slick move. One wonders if Ames Jones will follow suit. If not, one wonders if she’s rethinking her entry into the Senate race. There’s only so much room, and it’s crowded already. Greg and Burka have more.