There’s actually seven of them, but the Chron writes about the one with actual legislative experience.
Paul Sadler, a plaintiff’s lawyer who represented an East Texas district from 1991 to 2003 and who developed a reputation during his years in Austin as a savvy politician and an expert on school finance, filed two days after Sanchez announced his intention not to run. (Houston plaintiff’s lawyer Jason Gibson, a political neophyte, is among six other Democratic candidates, in addition to Sadler.)
Sadler, 56, knows the odds are stacked against him, not only because he’s a Democrat in a fervid red state but also because he won’t have the money to match the $30 million his likely Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, is prepared to spend.
No matter, Sadler said during an interview in the book-lined study of his spacious home on the edge of Henderson, in Rusk County. “I know these people,” he said, referring to Dewhurst and the other Republican candidates. “I can do better than they can.”
The experts doubt he will get the chance.
“The next U.S. senator will be decided in the Republican primary,” said Mark Jones, a political scientist at Rice University. Sadler’s “only hope is that the candidate does something so atrociously wrong that it disqualifies him in the eyes of the voters. Realistically, I think there’s virtually zero chance of Sadler winning.”
“He’s a natural politician and was an excellent House member, well thought of, fair,” said Austin-based political consultant Bill Miller, “but it would be very tough to win the race. It’s tough being a Democrat in Texas.”
Sadler is undeterred.
“I know the people of this state are pretty independent, if you can get them to sit down and pay attention and look,” he said. “I mean, we elected a Republican, John Tower, when there wasn’t a statewide Republican. We elected Bill Clements governor of Texas when there wasn’t a statewide Republican. This state will look at individual candidates, and they will vote for the person they think will best represent them.”
It’s a nice thought, but the reason why money matters is because it’s hard to get nine million voters spread out across 268,000 square miles and nearly thirty media markets to even know who you are, let alone consider voting for you, without a lot of it. Heck, just getting your name out to half a million or so primary voters is an expensive challenge. Rick Noriega, who was a current State Representative when he ran for Senate in 2008, raised about four million bucks over the course of the cycle, and that didn’t buy very much. Still, if Sadler is the nominee, that’s a metric to benchmark him against, to see how seriously his campaign is taken by the sort of people who fund campaigns. I look forward to seeing his March report, as well as those of his competitors in the primary.