We have our first official non-fringe candidate for Governor next year.
Saying he hoped to reunite the “Reagan coalition of social and economic conservatives,” former Texas Workforce Commissioner Tom Pauken confirmed to the Tribune that he will file to run for governor in 2014.
“I like [Gov.] Rick Perry. I like [Attorney General] Greg Abbott,” said Pauken, a former chairman of the Texas Republican Party who also worked in the Reagan administration. “I don’t know what they’re going to do. One or both may run. I’m going to run on issues.”
Pauken’s intention to run for governor was first reported by The Dallas Morning News.
He touted his recent work building support for education reform and emphasizing the importance of vocational training.
“On issues where there’s common ground, let’s bring Texans together,” he said.
Pauken said he wants to get a group together to look at the school finance system, which he said needs an overhaul. “We have a flawed Robin Hood system that was flawed from the beginning,” he said. “It hasn’t gotten better. It’s gotten worse.”
He said the state needed to focus its attention to essential services, such as its transportation infrastructure. He also said Texas needs to become less reliant on high property taxes, and he indicated that he is a strong proponent of term limits for statewide politicians.
“I also think there’s too much crony capitalism out there,” he said. “I think that’s a problem at the federal level, but I think it’s also a problem at the state level.”
Pauken has occasionally been a force for good, and he’s occasionally been a force for bad, which nevertheless gives him a higher batting average than either of the two main as-yet-unannounced contenders. What he’s saying here sounds altogether too reasonable to have any traction with the seething masses of the GOP primary electorate. I’m really hard-pressed to imagine a scenario in which he comes out on top of either Perry or Abbott. I have no idea why he thinks he can win – maybe he’s rooting for Perry to step away and Abbott to stay put. Who knows? Anyway, good luck, and watch out for the Pauken-mentum.