Possible Shake Up in Democratic Statewide Candidates Unlikely

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Capitol Insider's Mike Hailey is speculating two very big points as it pertains to the Democratic landscape.

First, Bill White is dropping out of the race for U.S. Senate to run for Texas Governor.

Second, Kirk Watson is no longer even considering a bid for Governor.

The entire article can be summed up by this paragraph from the article:

The story line about White changing course in midstream is predicated on several theories including a growing school of thought that State Senator Kirk Watson of Austin isn't going to enter the field of contenders in the governor's race as some Democrats have been hoping he would to do in the near future. There's even been speculation in the past few days that Watson won't even run for lieutenant governor – an office he's had his eye on for months if not longer – and will simply seek re-election to the Legislature's upper chamber instead. Watson, a former Austin mayor who'd be the prohibitive favorite in a re-election bid if he had any opposition at all, could expect be an underdog in a race for some high statewide office in a state where Republicans will still appear to have the advantage at that level despite steady gains by Democrats on the legislative battlefield and in battles for top county jobs in major urban areas.

This is an interesting article to read at this point in the cycle.  Locally, Senator Kirk Watson has made it fairly public he won't decide one way or the other until the end of summer or labor day.  It is also a well known fact Watson is actively looking into the breadth and range of support he may have in a statewide bid.

In fact, his first statement after Leticia Van de Putte's endorsement highlights the timeline.

I am very flattered by Senator Van de Putte's confidence in me, and I strongly agree with her about the need for improved leadership in Texas.

I have a job I enjoy greatly, which is representing the citizens of Senate District 14.  Over the next several weeks, I will evaluate the role I intend to play in serving Texas after 2010.  That service may include running for and serving in another office or running for reelection.  I intend to give this issue serious consideration, and I do not anticipate making any decisions in this regard until at least sometime after the end of the anticipated special session of the legislature, and probably not until the end of the summer.

Watson doesn't need to be on a quick timeline to decide. Watson currently has $1.4 million on hand in his Senate account. On the other hand, Tom Schieffer announced nearly $800,000 raised and $200,000 were loans.

The fact that Watson has a fundraising advantage doesn't accelerate the time line for decision.

Also interesting is the fact White would be the one dropping down for Governor.  White has raised approximately $4.4 million total and John Sharp is under a million when you exclude the loans.

In addition, a White spokesperson says the Mayor isn't looking at the Governor's race.

Katy Bacon said:

Don't listen to the rumors. Listen to the more than 3000 people who've given financially, and the many, many more who have volunteered to help get Bill to Washington. He's not running for Governor. Bill White's running for U.S. Senate because Texans need a strong voice in Washington, someone who will put Texas first and who knows how to bring people together to get things done. With past experience in both business and federal government, Bill's the man for the job.

In addition, White wrote on his facebook page notes indicating he is still committed to the U.S. Senate race.

I respect Paul B, but my decision-making wasn't based on politics. Texas would best be served by a new Senator with the strength to what is right for Texas, the federal experience to hit the ground running, the business skills to help balance the budget, and the broad support to have real influence with the new leadership in DC.

Hailey's presupposition that White is considering the Governor's race and Watson seems to be a story based solely on rumors and the sort of rumors that only happen when a slate is determined through careful deliberation and conversation.  This is a stark contrast to the Republican Party's slugfest at the top of the ticket were their dirty laundry is aired publicly.

Watson may or may not run.  However his timeline has been static and a decision isn't likely until September.  

White is a candidate for U.S. Senate, and there is no indication from the campaign or the rumor mill either Sharp or White will move to a different race.

The current reality is, Watson is exploring his options and White is running for U.S. Senate.  

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6 Comments

  1. once more with feeling
    you can't discount loans!!

    money is green. in a campaign it doesn't matter if you collect it at intersections or at the white house. if the check will clear, you are good to go.

    i'm admittedly a “sharp guy”, but not a sharp apologist.

    i think it is equally ridiculous for folks to disparage white's fundraising as only attributable to his incumbency. YES it is a factor in his success…but it is still greenbacks that can buy stuff. that is all that matters.

    i hate to be that guy that quibbles over minor points, but there have been numerous references to sharp not having money and that just isn't an accurate portrayal.

    burka can't be a goat one day and a genius the next. he is wise to examine scenarios and lay out possibilities. but the reality remains that he is still shooting in the dark thinking through all the possibilities.

    as an aside: watson felt the burn in 02 and saw his political career on the brink after a brutal defeat. i think he is too savvy to walk away from a sure thing. he is young enough and smart enough to keep building that war chest and biding his time for '14.

    • It is a good point
      but a campaign to win that senate seat  will cost close to $10 million. Sharp does not have as deep of pockets as Tony Sanchez did not, not even close.

      It is great to be able to loan yourself a few million dollars, but in six months of campaigning for the U.S. Senate, it appears like Sharp has been unable to raise more than $1 million from individuals. His loans are keeping him in the game for now but his fundraising will need to pick up eventually.

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