Special Comment: The Texas Senate “Race”

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While the national media can analyze the national health care debate daily and endlessly, it's like there's nothing of substance to talk about in Texas- and no, I'm not counting finger pointing between Rick Perry and “The Internet” over a botched webcast as substance. So I'm taking this time in the political doldrums to add a special comment (of immeasurable substance) to get the juices flowing.

It's a month past Labor Day. What the hell?

Are we that incapable of making decisions, campaigning, and developing messages (or fielding candidates) until Sen. Hutchison graces us with a decision on when or even if she's going to resign from the U.S. Senate to run for Governor? Sure, it's frustrating, but why are we ceding Hutchison the power to control everyone's political future? I'm not even convinced that she's ever going to resign until that Senate seat is declawed from her cold dead hands. And that only makes our Democratic Duet of Houston Mayor Bill White and former Comptroller John Sharp all the more sad while we're playing the world's smallest violin.

So let's talk about that race between White and Sharp…

Is it even a race?

I was clearing out my YouTube queue last night and literally had to stumble across a new web ad that was apparently put out by the John Sharp campaign. Well, it was put out two weeks ago so I'm not sure that qualifies as new. And even though it was on the front page of John Sharp's “new” website, it's only had 150 views, half of which came from a Dave McNeely rehashed 6-month old Sharp message column, so it makes you wonder how that was never pushed around online. After all, it's only the 3rd thing ever posted to Sharp's YouTube channel (compared to a dozen videos in the last month on White's channel which is just a fraction of the over 50 posted to date).

But hey, at least that Sharp video was posted on his website– good thing, it's the only content that's been added to the front page or blog for the entire month of September. Bill White had three blog posts…yesterday alone- not to mention a half dozen media hits or press releases linked from the last week. Oh, and White has a push for end of quarter donations since the deadline is tonight, something that is distinctly absent from the Sharp campaign. And given that it had a negative fundraising quarter last report, I'm sure they could use it, unless of course that big red arrow pointing down on contribute button on Sharp's site really is pointing out the direction his contributions are going.

That's all to say- where is the John Sharp campaign? When you're being outpaced in media (and possibly fundraising) by Tom Schieffer or Hank Gilbert over in the Governor's race, you know something is wrong. There are only so many retired or soon to be retired journalists that are willing to regurgitate and reiterate the “Sharp Strategy” that “running for statewide office several times gives [you]a considerable head start over candidates who haven't” and that you've “been on statewide ballots in five separate election years from 1986 through 2002, and already have organizations in counties all across Texas.”

Where's the beef, because that sounds like a lot of bun- Does 1984 need to give us a ring? How about from right here?

I heard a rumor the other week that the Sharp and White campaigns might be talking to each other again about…

A) if one of them would kindly drop out of the Senate race so the DSCC could finally gear up and help Texas (for once) like it actually wants to (which is a real thing), or

B) figure out who was going to run for Governor and/or other state executive offices if Sen. Hutchison chooses to keep playing Two-Face and not resign.

We need to stop betting on the future of Texas with the same old chips, especially when Hutchison holds the dice and refuses to roll.

Ante up, or fold.  


About Author

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


  1. I will say this much
    If either of these guys jumps into the race for Governor, I will never cast a vote for them again for the rest of my life.

    Way. Too. Late. for that now.

    Just sayin.

    • Definitely not too late
      Yes, one of them should have declared for governor a long time ago. But if we're willing to consider Hank Gilbert, who just declared recently, or Ronnie Earle, who hasn't declared at all, then we should keep an open door for Sharp and White, who have been building exactly the sort of statewide campaign that they'd need to run for governor.

      I don't think it will happen, but I wish it would. Those of us who are running down-ballot desperately need a proven vote-getter at the top of the ticket.

      • But does Sharp have that type of statewide campaign?
        KT put it best.  He is being outpaced in earned media by Gilbert and Schieffer.  Not only is he being outpaced by those two — he is being heavily outpaced.

        For that reason, if John Sharp jumped into the Governor's race today, I'm not even sure if I would have him on the same level as Schieffer and Gilbert.  I might even have him a notch lower.  Because until a Democrat actually wins Texas, and unless a candidate is a fake Democrat in policy as well as actions, I'm inclined to support the guy most likely to beat the R.  And unless Sharp secretly raised a butt-load of money in this quarter that's about to end…

        That said, if Bill White jumped in, it would be different for the same reasons.  But I don't see any reason at all for Bill White to jump races unless he becomes convinced KBH won't resign.

        As for Sharp, I'd give him a chance for my support in Gov…and I still would give him a chance for Senate right now, if he can somehow make a complete 180 and move past White.  But I kind of like the idea of him at Lite Gov.  At least, he's not campaigning as bad as Mark Katz.

        • Sharp and Katz
          You're right that Sharp would do best running for Lt. Gov. But he's repeatedly said that he's not interested, and I believe him.

          I saw Katz last week at the Williamson County Dems' “Taking Back Texas” fundraiser that was supposed to feature Sharp. Katz pretty much said that he would step aside if a stronger Democrat ran, and that he would run hard himself if one didn't.

          Sharp didn't actually appear. We first got word that he was on his way but stuck in traffic, and then that there were road closures and he couldn't make it. In the end, Diana Maldonado made a strong pitch on Sharp's behalf, particularly touting his work as Comptroller, when she first got to know him.  

  2. David Kobierowski on

    Interesting post KT

    This is good feedback into the technology lens comparing Sharp and White.

    But what are folks seeing outside of the technology lens for Sharp?

    Also, living in “the Austin bubble” my perception is limited to the Central TX area.   I'm anxious to hear from others across our great state.  

    What are BOR readers seeing outside of Austin for Bill and John?

    Comparing them outside of Austin,  are John's events well attended?   Is his message sticking in other areas of the state?  Are people charged up to see him?  Any other interesting info??



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