Texas Democrats are giddy at the prospect of Wendy Davis running for Governor. The astute will remember that I was very excited when she first announced, but with all due respect, that was nearly two weeks ago. Democrats might do worse than ever before –oh yes, mark my words– in the 2014 elections if something does not change quick.
Most importantly, the Democrats need to find candidates to run for the Statewide offices. As I have said before, even a State that is 80% non-White will not elect a single Democrat if they do not run. Buckpassing is perhaps Texas Democrats biggest problem, as everyone is so satiated with this abstract concept of a future victory that they are unwilling to do anything today. The reason why Wendy Davis’ candidacy is so extraordinary is that she put the good of the party and the State above her immediate political future. Rick Noriega did this in 2008, but it is a rare occurrence otherwise.
Democrats do have a serious candidate for Land Commissioner, John Cook, the former Mayor of El Paso. Serious candidates have also been suggested for Lieutenant Governor (State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte) and Attorney General (State Sen. Carlos Uresti) as well. However, the latter two individuals have been painfully silent recently, prompting some concern about the rigor of Democratic candidates.
Mike Collier, an energy executive from Houston, recently officially announced his bid for Comptroller. He was interviewed by the Tribune, put out an introductory web advertisement and has fired back against Republicans. While I am typically tepid about candidates without political experience, I believe Collier could end up being a good candidate. At the end of the day, financial constraints prevent these candidates, however, from doing all they are capable thereof.
I also recently received an email from the Lone Star Project, soon picked up by the Austin American-Statesman, about an individual named Sam Houston who would be running for Attorney General. Houston, of course, ran for the Texas Supreme Court in 2008, finishing with a respectable 46% of the vote. The fact that Matt Angle & Co are pushing Houston tells me that Sen. Uresti has decided against running for Attorney General.
What this means, simply put, is that the Democrats will not win the Attorney General race (not that we had much of a chance in the first place). Houston was a great candidate for the Supreme Court, and I think he would make a great candidate for the High Court once more. However, his lack of any political experience or constituency makes him a somewhat non-ideal candidate for the third highest office in the State.
The last recent Democrat entrant is Kinky Friedman, who is running for Agriculture Commissioner. I talked about this a few days ago in greater detail, if anyone is interested. The Austin intelligentsia loathes Friedman with a passion, so I cannot imagine him coming out of the primary unopposed. I have a hunch that Hank Gilbert, who beat him in the primary for this exact post in 2010, will challenge him again.
That leaves nine unopposed posts: US Senate, Railroad Commission, 4 seats on the Texas Supreme Court and 3 seats on the Court of Criminal Appeals. Given the Democrats’ history, I would not be surprised if only one post is filled in each of the high courts, though I do have some faith in Chairman Hinojosa to recruit candidates for all judicial posts.
As for the non-judicial posts, I am hoping for someone such as Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer to run for the Railroad Commission, though I must say I haven’t heard anyone else talking about it. Then, there is the individual who must run against John Cornyn next year.
If Louie Gohmert or someone else even more Conservative were to succesfully challenge John Cornyn in a Republican primary, however, the Democrats would truly be remiss to not provide a competent opponent. That looks to be where we’re headed.
If Sen. Van de Putte does not end up running for Lieutenant Governor, we may very well end up with a Democratic slate every bit as pitiful as in 2010. Democrats weren’t going to win before, but they sure as hell won’t ever win with weak candidates.