The Texas Tribune reports that Tom Pauken, a former Chairman of the Texas Republican Party and Texas Workforce Commissioner, has dropped out of the Republican primary for Governor. Pauken first announced his candidacy in March, well before Attorney General Greg Abbott had announced his candidacy or incumbent Governor Rick Perry had even announced his forthcoming retirement. In fact, to a large extend, Pauken spent the first few months running against Perry.
He had an odd diversification of issues at the forefront of his campaign, though most were somewhat right-wing (with the notable exception of some pretty good educational reform suggestions). The campaign, almost originally founded upon the idea that Rick Perry would run once more, has never really had very good financially standing. Indeed, in announcing his withdrawal, Pauken cited a lack of cash in his race, as well as a heavy media bias against him. Pauken had not yet filed for Governor, so his name will not remain on any ballots to speak thereof.
From his website:
“Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings, and I have much to be thankful for with such a great family and so many wonderful friends. The past month has made that even clearer and more dear to me. I want to thank you personally for your gracious and generous support of my campaign for Governor and the future of Texas. It is deeply appreciated.
Thanksgiving week also gave me the opportunity to reflect on where we were in the campaign and what we should do, going forward. Filing deadline is only days away, and I have to be realistic about our prospects. When I first filed our exploratory committee in March, I said at the time that there were certain, minimum objectives we needed to achieve to win the Republican nomination: (1) We had to raise a minimum of $2 million; (2) We had to build a strong, statewide organization; (3) We had to develop a major social media presence in a short period of time.
Even though I have worked hard to get our message out across the state the past six months, unfortunately we are nowhere near where we need to be financially and organizationally to win this race. And, the primary is only three months away. I can no longer in good conscience ask friends and fellow conservatives to continue to help me when there appears to be no realistic path to victory. Greg Abbott has a $25 million war chest and the media depicts this as a Greg Abbott v. Wendy Davis race.
My travels across the state make clear that Texans are frustrated with the direction our nation is headed. I fervently believe that we need a new style of leadership in our Party that will unite Texans and Americans behind sound policies based on our conservative principles, and take the fight to the Left. On the issue of education, I have fought hard for a return to local control and more opportunities for vocational education. We have to end this cancer of insider cronyism which infects both parties as government becomes more our master, rather than our servant. Clearly, my message has not resonated with enough contributors, party leaders, and grassroots conservatives to show a pathway to victory. I wish it were otherwise. I believe my message is the right one to bring Texans and Americans together for the good of the country, but perhaps I am not the right messenger – or, it is not the right time.
You have my assurance that I will continue the fight for our founding principles. But, under the circumstances I have decided not to file for the Republican nomination for Governor.
Thank you for all you have done to support our cause.”
I can’t say that I am surprised, but I am slightly disappointed. Pauken has my favorite candidate of the gubernatorial candidates. Abbott’s remaining challengers include Larry Kilgore, Miriam Martinez and Lisa Fritsch.