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Villarreal not running for Comptroller

One name off the board.

Rep. Mike Villarreal

State Rep. Mike Villarreal said Wednesday he has decided against a statewide run for comptroller and will instead campaign for re-election in San Antonio’s District 123.

Villarreal said he has been encouraged by Democrat activists and colleagues to run for Texas’ chief financial officer but that obligations to his family, in particular his children in second and fourth grade, will keep him on the statewide sidelines for now.

“Timing is everything in politics,” he said, adding that he is “very optimistic” that this is the year Democrats will end their nearly 20-year cold streak and win a statewide post. “But the timing is not good for me.”

Villarreal, who represents north central San Antonio, studied economics at Texas A&M University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard and is chairman of the House Investments and Financial Services committee. A run at statewide office for any House member would require forfeiting their seat, and in this case, a chairmanship.

When asked what will be different this election cycle to turn the tides for Democrats statewide, he pointed to state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth.

I’m not terribly surprised by this, nor am I terribly disappointed. Like Sen. Davis, Rep. Villarreal would have to give up his seat to run statewide, which like her would mean giving up a lot for no sure thing, but unlike Sen. Davis he’d start out as basically an unknown, he’d have a much smaller fundraising base – Rep. Villarreal had $54K on hand in July, and raised $52,500 more in August, not exactly statewide numbers – and as candidate for Comptroller he’d have far less control over the outcome. No question, there’s a lot of Democratic talent in the House, but as I said before, I’d prefer to see other avenues taken before tapping that talent this year, as the steady replacement of mainstream Republicans by ignorant teabagger nihilists makes its presence in the lower chamber that much more vital. EoW suggests former Sen. Eliot Shapleigh of El Paso as a recruiting target, and I’m all in in that. For what it’s worth, the Dems do have a declared Comptroller candidate already, so at least we’re not trying to fill in a blank. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep looking for better candidates, and we still have some other slots to fill, most notably Attorney General, but we’ll have to look at someone other than Rep. Villarreal to fill them. Texpatriate, whose interpretation of Rep. Villarreal’s remarks I don’t agree with, has more.

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