Houston Mayor Annise Parker Not Coy About Intentions To Run Statewide In 2018

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Annise Parker, fresh off reelection to her 3rd term as Houston Mayor, told Lone Star Q she is eyeing a future run for statewide office possibly in 2018. As fired up as Texas Democrats are right now, the state will not turn blue without recruiting top tier candidates, so you can mark this announcement as another progressive victory of 2013.

Parker is an experienced campaigner who first honed her chops on Houston City Council in 1997 before being elected to 3 terms as City Comptroller starting in 2003. Now, in her final term as Mayor she is no stranger to headlines and continues to rattle the Conservative establishment far beyond Houston's city limits.

Find out what position Mayor Parker may be considering along with the full interview below the jump…

The year 2018 may seem a long way away, especially with a big 2014 just ahead, but in terms of statewide elections it is the next big chance as this cycle's filing deadline has passed. Democrats have high hopes for Senators Wendy Davis and Leticia Van De Putte running for the state's top 2 offices but there are some lesser known candidates who have a fighting chance that will determine what seats non-incumbent Democrats will be vying for.

For the next few cycles having multiple high profile candidates will not likely spur tough primary battles since nearly every statewide office is still occupied by Republicans. So, even if many 2014 candidates are unsuccessful and chose to run again the addition of likely candidates such as Julian or Joaquin Castro and Annise Parker should only increase the strength of the ticket and its ability to recruit strong down ballot and local candidates.

In her interview Parker focused more on her current job as Houston Mayor and didn't specify what office she may be particularly interested in. She did however limit it to statewide executive or administrative post, as opposed to Congress. So much of politics and the fate of politicians rests on timing. By the 2018 filing deadline in 2017 Parker will have been out of public office for nearly two years which she says she may spend in the private sector. She has over 18 years of experience in the oil and gas industry as a software analyst as well as having owned her own income tax company and bookstore.

A lot could change before 2018 but It is not unlikely given that Parker is openly gay and has announced her intentions to marry her long time partner in California early next year, that Republicans will prefer to attack her for social positions over her business and fiscal ones. To that point the City of Houston is now involved in a lawsuit over her decision to extend benefits same-sex married couples which Jared Woodfill, chairman of the Harris County Republican Party referred to as, “one of the most egregious acts by an elected official I've ever seen.” She has also announced plans to bring a “non-discrimination ordinance” before the City Council. She told Lone Star Q, “I clearly and consistently said it wouldn't be my highest priority, and that my first job as mayor was to step in and navigate the city through the recession, fix the major problems that we had, but that before I leave we would have that ordinance.”

When it comes to previewing her statewide platform like many Democrats she said education was a priority but that, “we need to talk about what we're for,” and apparently she means business, literally. She made it clear in her interview earlier this year with the Texas Tribune that she would take her business acumen to Austin, “Businesses create jobs. We need good jobs at fair wages. That's a Democratic value.” One thing is for sure, she will have a record to run on. During Parker's tenure Houston has continually ranked in the top 5 U.S. cities for jobs, and future job growth by big names such Forbes, Business Insider, and Business Journal. In 2013 alone Houston also ranked as one of Forbes “Coolest Cities to Live” and Business Insider's “Best City In America.”

Below is the excerpt from Lone Star Q's interview with the Mayor:

LSQ: What's next for you after your term expires at the end of 2015? There's been a lot of talk that you will run for statewide office as a Democrat in 2016 or 2018.

AP: I don't intend to run for anything until I'm done as mayor. Unfortunately, in 2016, there's not a lot out there, so I probably will need to go back into the private sector for a while, but I hope that while mayor of Houston is the best political job I would ever have, I hope it's not my last political job. … I would certainly be interested in looking statewide. [I'm] not trying to be coy. People talked to me about running in 2014 as a Democrat for one of the statewide positions. I've had a lot of conversations with folks about that, but I made the commitment to serve as mayor of Houston and to do my best for the city for as long as I could. I just wasn't in that place. I've also been fairly public that what I'm most interested in in terms of a future political position is something where I'm in an administrative or an executive position. [With] due respect to my members of Congress down here, I've been the CEO of a $5 billion corporation. I like to get things done, and the idea of, say, running for Congress, doesn't excite me. … [It will be] a statewide executive position.

You can read the full interview here.

You can follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.


About Author

Joe Deshotel

Joe was born and raised in Beaumont, Tx, but live music and politics brought him to Austin. He has worked in and around government and elections for over a decade including for a member of US Congress, the Texas Legislature, the Mayor of Austin. He currently serves as Communications Director for the Travis County Democratic Party. He is most interested in transportation, energy and technology issues. He also likes Texas Hold'em and commuting on his electric skateboard. Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

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