I had the chance on Friday to chat with Barbara Radnofsky, who was in town to do some mediation work in between trips around Texas for her Senate campaign. She takes her job - and by that I mean "running for Senate" - very seriously. She's basically been doing it since last January, after all. I get the distinct impression that she enjoys it. Not the calling people to ask for money part - nobody likes that. She likes the travelling around and talking to people, which is something she's done a lot of lately. You can follow her travels at her site or at the complementary blog one of her supporters has going.
What's motivating her to drive across the state (actually, to ride while her husband drives), keep crazy hours, and carry two Blackberries and a cellphone, is the belief that the country is off on the wrong track and needs to get things right. "If I thought things were going well, I wouldn't be running," she said to me several times. We talked about her being a first-time candidate. She argued strongly that you can't limit the field for statewide offices just to people who started at the county or city level and spent 20 years working their way up the ladder. New blood is good, and besides, that career arc excludes anyone who spent those years working in the private sector and raising a family. It wouldn't bother me to see a few people like her start to fill in the blanks on the rest of the Democratic ticket for statewide office, that's for sure.
She didn't know anything more about Juan Garcia (whose website is currently down for "routine maintenance") than I did, but thought it was fine for there to be another candidate and a contested primary. Among other things, that might generate some more attention to and coverage of the Democratic side of the debate. We speculated as to what KBH might do, and she pointed out that the longer Hutchison takes to (officially) make up her mind, the less time any potential challenger who only wants to run for an open seat will have to raise money and get a campaign going. For what it's worth, she feels pretty sure she'll be running against someone other than KBH, but she's prepared either way.
One recent highlight from her travels was talking to former Houston media figure Roger Gray on his radio show in Tyler. She was originally supposed to be there for only 30 minutes, then dash off to another event, but he convinced her to stay longer since he wanted to keep talking to her. She's got an open invitation to return, so next time she's up east, look for her on the air.
If you're somewhere in Texas, Barbara will be in your vicinity sooner or later. Like Chris Bell, she's going everywhere to talk to anyone who'll listen. I encourage you to do so if you get the chance.
UPDATE: And an update from Barbara, via email:
I don't mind calling folks and am not shy about asking for money...I'm finding they have good substantive/issue help so the calls take longer than for other candidates, so I've had to learn to be more efficient. Some of my best learning on specific issues, like insurance reform and health care, has come from the fundraising calls, really.