Sunday, September 22, 2013

2014 Texas Democratic Ticket

Sen. Wendy Davis continues to prepare to announce her candidacy for Governor as a Democrat on October 3. 

Conditioned on her running, you are beginning to see the Democratic ticket fill in around her.  Sen. Leticia Van de Putte will likely run for Lieutenant Governor, and Sen. Carlos Uresti is giving strong consideration to running for Attorney General.  Sen. Jose Rodriguez has also been discussed as an Attorney General candidate.

Van de Putte, Uresti and Rodriguez all drew four-year terms in the Texas Senate, and therefore can run for higher office without having to give up their Senate seat.  This is different from Texas House members who have two-year terms and would have to relinquish their seat to run.  So far, no Texas House Democrats have been willing to take the up or out statewide plunge, although Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer has not ruled it out.

Two other Democrats have indicated they will run statewide.  Michael Collier, a Houston accountant, will run for Comptroller; and former El Paso Mayor John Cook will run for Land Commissioner.

I have not seen a strong Democrat surface to take on U. S. Sen. John Cornyn, who will be the first name on the 2014 ballot.  One of the difficulties is money.  Federal races are subject to contribution limits of $2,600 per person and $5,000 per PAC, whereas Texas state races have no contribution limits.  For example, Fort Worth investor Sid Bass recently gave Sen. Davis $100,000, and Attorney General Abbott has numerous $100,000 contributors.  It is easier to raise money for a non-federal race.

Additionally, U. S. Senate Democrats are playing prevent defense nationally in an environment where most pundits believe the Republicans have a credible chance to pick up the six seats necessary to take control of the U. S. Senate.  There is simply no Democratic national money to spare for a long-shot U. S. Senate race in Texas.

The legal filing period for Texas federal and state offices opens November 9 and closes December 9.  For the Democrats, the de facto filing period opens October 3 when Sen. Davis formally announces her candidacy for Governor.