Griggs' decision was not a surprise. His open displeasure over the lack of influence he wielded in Austin on school finance sparked speculation about his plans.
In a written statement, Griggs said he never intended to serve more than two terms in the District 91 House seat and wanted to spend more time with his family. He did not mention his disagreements with fellow Republicans over school finance.
Three Republicans -- Kelly Hancock of North Richland Hills, a member of the Birdville school board; Pat Carlson of Grapevine, chairwoman of the Tarrant County Republican Party; and Charles Scoma, the former mayor of North Richland Hills -- said Friday that they plan to seek the GOP nomination.
The district includes North Richland Hills, Haltom City, Richland Hills, Watauga and a northern section of Fort Worth.
Griggs was elected in 2002, after nine years as superintendent of the 22,000-student Birdville school district. He expected to play a major role in the Legislature's school finance overhaul.
Instead, he openly broke with Republicans who wanted to link school funds to state mandates and repeatedly criticized Rep. Kent Grusendorf, R-Arlington, chairman of the House Public Education Committee. Legislative leaders did not reappoint Griggs to the education panel in the last session, further distancing him.
"We were disappointed that we had a person with the experience of Bob Griggs, and the leadership was making a decision that we have an all-American and we're putting him on the bench," said Jay Thompson, associate superintendent for staff and student services with the Birdville school district.
North Richland Hills Mayor Oscar Trevino said he and the mayors of several other cities in District 91 tried recently to persuade Griggs to remain in the Legislature.
Even though Griggs was at odds with legislative leaders, he did a good job of voicing the district's concerns about education and other issues, Trevino said.
Jillianne Johnson, executive director of the Tarrant County Democratic Party, said two Democrats who live in the district have also expressed interest in running but declined to give their names. The primary election is March 7.
Griggs' exit ups the ante on Craddick's future as the dominant question of said future becomes: do truculant GOP members lose out in 2006 or have a change of heart and go back to supporting Craddick for Speaker in January 2007 ... or does the current dissatisfaction with Craddick hold - and more importantly, will the Craddick Dems that survive 2006 come back home and support a moderate GOP Speaker if enough GOP support is out there?
One last thing Greg notes is the 2002 partisan makeup of HD91 - it's pretty heavily Republican. I did a quick check on the 2004 results and it's no different - the high scorer for Democrats was JR Molina with 34.1%. Beyond the usual Run Everywhere cheering, the best reason I can think of to urge a Democrat to run there is to remind all the voters that Bob Griggs (who was the top votegetter in HD91 last year) wasn't satisfied with the Republican "solutions" for education. Especially if the GOP nominee is a likely rubber stamp such as Pat Carlson, the contrast might make some people think twice.
And as long as we've brought up the speakership, The Jeffersonian asks a good question: Is there any effort to recruit a Democratic opponent for Tom Craddick in his district? I think that would be a good little project for the caucus leadership - Dunnam, Gallego, and Coleman. What say you guys?Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 27, 2005 to Election 2006 | TrackBack