Hank Gilbert To Run for Governor of Texas

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There has been much talk here on Burnt Orange Report (and across multiple failed drafts) about the Texas Governor's race, especially with no one knowing who may run where. Statewide, Houston Mayor Bill White is leading the charge in the yet to be scheduled US Senate race, and former Comptroller John Sharp has joined him in that race. However, the statewide ticket lacks any announced candidates for Lt. Governor (arguably the most powerful statewide office), Comptroller, or Land Commissioner- all members of the Legislative Redistricting Board (LRB). Barbara Ann Radnofsky remains the sole candidate for Attorney General (another LRB position).

Part of the reason the ticket isn't fleshed out is because the Republicans don't have any more semblance of a ticket — and won't until Kay Coward finally decides if she's going to resign or not. Additionally, the conversations is revolving around the Governor's race where potentially strong candidates in state senators Kirk Watson and Leticia Van de Putte have declined runs, leaving us with the lineup of humorist Kinky Friedman, unknown Mark Thompson, 2006 check-bouncer Felix Alvarado, and former 1970's State Rep. Tom Schieffer who's voting history for George W. Bush causes perpetual headaches for activists.

But according to multiple sources that have confirmed this to Burnt Orange Report, Hank Gilbert, our 2006 Agriculture Commissioner candidate is gearing up to run statewide in the Governor's race. Gilbert was one of the first three TexRoots endorsed candidates, which included soon to be Assistant Secretary of the Navy Juan Garcia.

This is an exciting development. Not only would such a move shake up interest for activists who have long appreciated Gilbert's true Texas style, it has the potential to set up a productive and active primary to keep Democrats from straying over into the Republican fold for Kay Bailey Hutchison. From conversations with those close to Gilbert, he's secured commitments and support to take his campaign to the top of the ticket should he choose to and start a campaign with more online infrastructure than anyone else in the 2006, 2008, or 2010 Democratic fields.

While our statewide ticket isn't dependent on our Gubernatorial nominee, it has an influence in providing support for the downballot races, including freshman members and rural Democrats in the Texas House. Compared to some of the current gubernatorial candidates, Gilbert could be an asset for Democrats' downballot efforts. From what I've been told, Gilbert is interested in helping to proactively fill out other spots on the statewide ticket and is interested in working with other candidates to minimize unnecessary conflict.

Gilbert has been effectively campaigning for the last 4 years at the grassroots level, organizing rural communities with independent, moderate, and even Republican voters against toll roads, the Trans-Texas Corridor, and on land and energy issues. That's a huge head start that could benefit a statewide campaign.

For those unfamiliar with Gilbert, here is his awesome speech at the 2006 Texas Democratic Convention.


About Author

Former Publisher & Owner of the Burnt Orange Report. Political Thinker, Digital Explorer, and Time Traveler.


  1. Hank can do it!
    I am thrilled with Hank's candidacy!  He has spine in all-caps, bold.  I loved his participation in the Trans-Texas Corridor hearings.  He spoke truth to power with eloquence and honesty.  He's the kind of leader we've all been waiting for.  

  2. Im not that thrilled.
    Love the hell out of Hank! He did some great stuff on the TTC. And he is very well known by those of us who attend TDP state conventions or read blogs instead of watching TV.

    No doubt he will get them excited, but we have the other few million who are going to vote.

    Who is advising him on this? Does he have any experience for this job?

    Again, I love the hell out of Hank! But for Governor? Maybe I am wrong. Hopefully.

    • From the looks of that shirt
      he'll give Goodhair or Kay B. a run in the flag-waving department.  (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

      And I agree with the next commenter that any real Dem is better than Sheiffer.

  3. Hank Gilbert is Solid Gold for Texas Democrats
    The Democratic ticket-leader needs to be inspirational to the public at large and well respected by whatever passes for a political establishment in Texas.

    He is inspirational because he talks substance honestly and across all the divisions imposed on the electorate by political consultants and manipulators who deal in market segments not in individuals or practical matters of actual government.

    He is respected because he deals first and foremost with patriotic voters and activists who pay attention to what is going on, not least in their own county or city, and show up to make a difference, … to be the change.

    He has also plumbed the depths and breadths of Texas' counties and cities where patronage trickles-down and taxes are sucked-up, increasingly, just to pay debts or indemnify rich people for their own damn folly. Making government accountable to the middle-class, not the donor class, is the central challenge of state and local government today. It cannot be met by GOP utopianism or liberal panhandling.

    People are going to elect a populist governor in Texas.

    It will be a Democrat like Hank or a put-up job like Perry or Palin. The advantages of having Hank at the top of the ticket, instead of another risk-averse, empty-suit are …

    (1) if he can mobilize the support needed for nomination by primary election, he can take control of the party in less than one year from now and start delivering the coherent populist message all Democrats on the ballot need but few will be able to articulate personally to many people running all by themselves, no matter how much they lay out on consultants, and …

    (2) if he can gain election, he can begin replacing both GOP scoundrels and their Democratic enablers throughout Texas government, taking on the big challenges, not just sharing out pork and perks.

    That is a job for a real leader, not a control-freak or spokes-model.  

    The national party is trying to turn election of Barack Obama into thirty years of majority rule. That is what Bill Clinton talked about at Netroots Nation and what Howard Dean spelled out in exquisite detail in the matter of health care reform — not mere health insurance reform.

    Hank can take Texas into the Democratic column and keep it there. He can spare us yet another failed attempt to restore the “good old days” — when the strictly Austin Democrats and Beaumont Republicans ruled in coaltion.

    That is sooo over.

    Welcome to change we can believe in.

    The state party mumbles about going “forward”, but they are stuck in the paternalism of Southern Liberals. They are precisely the “cringing” and “reactionary” liberals that the GOP knows how to dispose of. They do not know how to assemble a credible statewide ticket and, now, do not even try.

    That may be a good thing, given their track record. We can have a fair primary, maybe even in the Valley, and pull our entire ticket out of the ditch that the brain-dead state party establishment put it in in 2002.

    With a populist at the helm of the party and a brace of good people in other elected and appointed offices, we — the people who show up and participate in primary elections and state conventions — can turn empty rhetoric like “forward” into actual progress on “energy”, for instance.

    Energy + Economomy should be our state party's signature issue. Without it, our laundry-list of other issues will not matter much. It takes a break-through to resolve the present crisis of federal, state, and local government.

    Hank can breach that wall and take us all through it.  

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