What an Open Race for Governor Means for Republicans and Democrats

Now that Governor Perry has declared he won't run for a fourth full term in office, everyone's waiting to see how many candidates will take a shot in next year's race for governor.  This could be an opportunity for Democrats, but one political analyst says they may not be ready to take on one of the Governor's closest allies.

Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott has not publicly said he intends to try to replace Governor Perry.  But he already has the campaign infrastructure, and the tons of money needed, to mount an effective campaign.  Brandon Rottinghaus is an Associate Professor of political science at the University of Houston.  He says if Abbott runs, he'll have to do it as his own man. 

"I don't think that you'll see him talking a lot about the governor, or the the governor's policies.  There will be a general compliment of the terms and tone of how the state is working thus far.  But I don't think that you'll see them sort of campaigning together much."

On the Democratic side, there has been a lot of chatter over whether Fort Worth Senator Wendy Davis might make a go of it, after making national news for her abortion bill filibuster.  Rottinghaus says Democrats do have a better shot at the governor's seat, without Perry as an incumbent.  But they still don't have a candidate with the name recognition, or the money, of Attorney General Abbott.

"There's potential there, at least in terms of the positioning of the issues and some of the candidates.  And certainly they're all competent.  The question here is whether the infrastructure can generate enough of a support system to give them the extended apparatus they need.  And I'm not sure that's there yet."

So far, there's only one declared candidate in the governor's race.  That's former state Republican Party chairman Tom Pauken.  He told reporters today he has raised several hundred thousand dollars.  Attorney General Abbott has a war chest of $18 million. 

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David Pitman

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