Bill White Says He Will Not Run for U.S. Senate in 2012

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Two weeks after his loss to Gov. Rick Perry, the former Houston Mayor said he will not run for the U.S. Senate in 2012. Prior to entering the gubernatorial race last year, White had sought the senate seat many had expected Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to vacate. White additionally said he had no plans to run for office in 2014 either and was evaluating future business plans.

The announcement can hardly be described as surprising, though the timing of it may be earlier than many had expected. Former Texas Comptroller John Sharp has said he plans to run for the Senate in 2012 (although his website currently offers advice on how to find “the best male enhancement pills”).

The Republican side will likely be crowded, as Railroad Commissioners Elizabeth Ames Jones and Michael Williams along with former Secretary of State Roger Williams and State Sen. Florence Shapiro were all planning on running in what they thought would be a special election. Whether they all ultimately run is unknown, but it seems unlikely.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst could be the Republican frontrunner, but his decision will not come until after the upcoming legislative session. Depending on the political climate, Democrats could see a legislator, or perhaps someone we have not even heard of yet, jump in after the legislature adjourns in May.

Update: As Robert points out in the comments, Hutchison has become well known for saying one thing and doing another when it comes to her future in the Senate. While I still expect her not to run again, Robert is right that given her history it is far from a sure thing. However, if she does choose to run again, Hutchison could find herself as a target for a challenge from the right in the Republican Primary.


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  1. Forget the incumbent?
    I see no reason to believe Kay Bailey will go quietly.

    I also see no reason to support John Sharp.  

    • Challenge
      I think that it is a given that she will be challenged should she seek another term. If Joe Strauss isn't conservative enough to be Speaker then Hutchison is not conservative enough to be a senator.  The question is who would challenge her and take a more extreme, Tea Party approach to challenging her.  I don't think Roger Williams has it in him, nor the other declared candidates either really.  

      Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, although I've never considered extreme, has been blatantly partisan here of late.  He lavished Rick Perry and Sarah Palin with praise weeks ago at an event in Dallas.  The DMN even wrote an editorial telling Leppert to stop being so blatantly partisan.  

      I don't know, it'll be interesting to watch Kay waffle in her decision.  Should she run we'll see another terrible primary campaign because she's good at doing that, and so I would expect that given the political climate we now have that an extreme challenger from the Right would probably beat her. Who can challenge the extreme Right better than Rick Perry though?  No one comes to mind.  Might that leave Perry to consider a run against Hutchison again but for the U.S. Senate versus President?  Hmmm.  


  2. Makes sense
    If he had lost by a much closer margin, say 5%, it might be reasonable for him to run.  But coming off of a huge 13% loss, I don't think it would have any chance of going anywhere.  He's damaged goods and it would be hard to convince anyone that that 13% gap for our best efforts this year could be made up in 2 years.  Even in 2006 and 2008, good Democratic years, our Senate candidates didn't go anywhere.

    The only real hope for a close statewide election that we might win is if the GOP self implodes and the Tea Party replaces Hutchison with an incompetent extremist who strongly repels even moderate conservatives.

    Unless they give us that opportunity, we as Texas Democrats need to step back and lower our aims.  Work on taking back the House seats we lost this last election.  Looking for salvation at the top of the ticket hasn't worked, or even come close to working for us.

    • I have to agree
      I'm a big Bill White fan but 13% is hard to build off of. I do also have pretty big reservations about another John Sharp run. I'm not sure Sharp inspires voters in Texas any more than White.

      Anyone have thoughts on who would make a better Senate candidate? Julian Castro?

    • “if the GOP implodes”…
      That's why we need a nominee who can chew gum and walk at the same time.. just in case.

      If the GOP implodes or a nutjob wins the R nomination(and that means someone more wingnuttier than their current crop, we can't get caught flat footed with our own nutjob as our nomineed.

      R nutjobs beat D nutjobs at all times.


      • good point
        In the event that the GOP elects a true nutjob (not just one that masquerades as a nutjob but is actually pretty standard Republican) I think Bill White would be a good candidate.

        But that's accepting that we can only win by default.  

      • Agreed.
        I imagine this will come to a head at filing time.  If a crazy who can win the GOP nomination is planning on filing, we should have one of our best in the wings ready to pounce.

        But I wouldn't put a lot of hope on it at this point.

  3. One No on Chet Edwards
    Sorry, folks. The guy just spent an entire campaign running away from and spitting on his own party. He couldn't pull 40% in a district he's held for many cycles. Why should we nominate yet another candidate who's petrified of sounding like a Democrat?

  4. John Sharp?
    Has there been any John Sharp sightings. His website is down and Facebook page is outdated. Anybody know what's going on?

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