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The Land Office in the news

Please enjoy this coverage of a downballot statewide race, which is not something we get all that much of.

Jerry Patterson

Incumbent George P. Bush, the 41-year-old grandson and nephew of U.S. presidents, is facing off against his outspoken predecessor Jerry Patterson, 71, who wants his old job back after leaving it to unsuccessfully run for lieutenant governor.

Despite its low profile, the land commissioner has one of the state’s most critical jobs, especially now as hundreds of communities, including Houston, continue to recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

“The (governor), the lieutenant governor and other statewide elected officials, including the land commissioner, are important positions because they touch so many lives,” said David Dewhurst, who served as the land commissioner from 1999 to 2003.

The Texas land commissioner is responsible for cleaning up oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico, raising money for schools, preserving the state’s most iconic landmark, doling out benefits to veterans and helping communities recover from a natural disaster.

“Our land commissioner oversees extensive programs that benefit our veterans, and our oil and gas activities, which are important to provide more funding for public education, particularly when the Legislature has not been as aggressive as it has in the past to provide funding for public schools,” Dewhurst said.

[…]

Tex Morgan, who is running as a Democrat, said that if elected he’ll work to increase awareness about the land office’s duties.

“Too few Texans know the scope or depth of the GLO’s responsibilities, programs and opportunities,” Morgan, 31, said.

[…]

Miguel Suazo, a Democrat on the primary ballot, has repeatedly called out Bush for not demanding that the state tap its rainy day fund, which has about $10 billion available for budget emergencies.

In a January interview with the Bryan-College Station Eagle, Bush expressed support for calling a special session so that the state could provide more money for Harvey relief. A few days after the interview was published, Bush walked back the statement saying he “misspoke.”

Gov. Greg Abbott has said calling a special session is unnecessary.

“I agree that calling a special session is not necessary,” Bush said. “I will continue to work under Gov. Abbott’s leadership as we help Texans throughout the hurricane recovery process.”

Since recovery efforts began, Bush has said the land office is at the mercy of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which determines eligibility for the recovery programs and distributes the funds.

Bush has three primary opponents, of whom his predecessor Jerry Patterson would appear to be his biggest threat. I feel like he’ll probably win, but let’s remember, Baby Bush was the top votegetter in the state among Republicans with Democratic opponents in 2014. He toyed with the idea of running for Governor before “settling” on the Land Office while he built his resume and bided his time till the old farts got out of his way and he could ascend to the throne vie for the top spot. He was a rising star, the half-Latino face of the Republican future, and now he could actually fail to win re-nomination. The fact that he has non-token opposition at all is remarkable.

(Oh, and also, too: Secret mansions financed by undisclosed loans. I mean, seriously?)

On the Democratic side, Suazo was the first candidate in, while Morgan filed at the last minute. They both look all right, though at this point I don’t know enough about them to make a choice yet. This is one of those races where I’ll probably let myself be guided by endorsements more than anything else. If you have a strong feeling about either Suazo or Morgan, leave a comment and let us know.

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8 Comments

  1. penwyth says:

    As an independent I am torn as to which primary to vote in.

    Leaning toward Republican to vote for Patterson as he is on record as stating that folks voting for Trump are idiots. And importantly I like his supportive position on the Texas Open Beaches Act, and Alamo preservation. And that Patterson will actually get something done as opposed to just talk about it like Bush.

    Bush is a light weight with a recognizable name. And tragically was the state chair that helped get the most dangerous, unprincipled president in history elected.

    I trust the Democrats to pick a good candidate in my 7th Congressional district primary.

  2. Hope says:

    I am a Democrat and will vote in that primary. I decided to vote for Tex Morgan based on his web site and the responses to the questions at onyourballot.vote411.org. Both he and Suazo bring credentials to the race. I feel that Suazo has his eye on higher office; I think Morgan will be more focused on the job. Suazo is probably better connected and might have more financial backing. That could mean he would do better in the general. I went with my gut on this one. I don’t feel this is a year to stay in the slow lane.

  3. TexMex Dude says:

    I may end up supporting Dr. Jason Westin. He is the best choice bc he has a grasp on the major issues that affect CD 7. Not to mention that he is the one who has the most potential to pick the most moderate/crossover votes in a nearly evenly politically divided district.

  4. Mary Morrison says:

    I have met Miguel Suazo and reviewed his credentials and feel he is the strongest candidate

  5. Manny Barrera says:

    I will vote for the “Mexican” dude. They are all rapist and drug dealers, according to the Russian Clown that sits at the White House.

  6. ed espinoza says:

    Miguel is a former U.S. Senate staffer who has been endorsed by the Houston Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News, the Dallas Morning News, and the Austin Chronicle. At 37 he is the youngest candidate in the race (I believe that Tex Morgan is 38, not 31 as mentioned above).

  7. Rebecca says:

    I am a democrat and a little torn on this one. While I think Suazo has better connections and experience, and is the stronger candidate, I cannot find enough history about his oil and gas law firm. Yes he is endorsed by all these papers but why did they leave out that he’s an oil & gas lawyer, none of them asked questions about his law history in the industry and which side he’s on. The last thing we need is another guy in office who is going to champion the interests of the oil and gas industries. His answers are good to a variety of questions but I’m weary of him. Morgan on the other hand seems like a good candidate who is anxious for change (like many of us) but without the experience in the industry. It’s a tough call.