December 06, 2005
Let the filings begin!

Yesterday was the first day that candidates turned in their paperwork to run for office. So who's in so far?

Agriculture commissioner Susan Combs was among those filing in the Republican primary for statewide office. She wants to be state comptroller. Incumbent Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn has announced that she's leaving the office to make a GOP primary bid against Gov. Rick Perry.

State Sen. Todd Staples, R-Palestine, filed for agriculture commissioner in the GOP primary, and incumbent Republican Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson filed for re-election. Local Republican members of Congress filing for re-election were Michael Burgess of Flower Mound and Kenny Marchant of Coppell.

In the Democratic primary, Barbara Ann Radnofsky filed for U.S. Senate. She will oppose Republican incumbent Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who has indicated she will seek re-election. Democratic lawyer David Van Os filed for the Texas attorney general's race.

That's a Star-Telegram story, and it notes there were many other local incumbents filing for reelection, with one (Republican State Rep. Charlie Geren) drawing a primary opponent.

The Chron does not have a filing story, but it does give us this piece on the Senate money race.

In the first nine months of this year, [Senator Kay Bailey] Hutchison raised nearly $1.6 million and spent about $895,000. She has more than $7.3 million saved from previous races, often against weak challengers, and from her exploratory bid for governor, which she ended in June.

As of September, her financial cushion was the sixth-largest among the hundreds of candidates for the Senate, according to PoliticalMoneyLine, which tracks money in campaigns.

[Democratic candidate Barbara] Radnofsky, a Houston lawyer, has made more than 275 campaign stops since she began considering a bid for elected office nearly two years ago, and she has been raising money tirelessly.

She raised about $584,000 between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, the latest figures available, and spent more than $200,000.

"I calculate what (Hutchison's) dollar advantage is to me fairly frequently, and I am careful about my spending accordingly," said Radnofsky.

At least Radnofsky's existence is being acknowledged now. It's a start.

No filing stories in the Morning News either, but last week they did tell us that Ralph Hall will run again.

A number of politicians have waited years for Mr. Hall to retire. Two already are campaigning for the Democratic nomination in the 4th District, which stretches from the Dallas suburbs to Texarkana.

But Mr. Hall – who weathered the last round of redistricting after switching parties five minutes before the filing deadline in January 2004 – has proved himself a survivor.

For years, as a conservative Democrat, he voted often with Republicans and held on to an East Texas district where his own party was badly outnumbered.

Last November, in his first race as a Republican, he carried 68 percent of the vote.

He joked Tuesday that he'll stay in Congress "till somebody overtakes me age-wise. ... I'm in good health and doing well. I think I can be re-elected."

Vying for the Democratic nomination are Glenn Melancon of Sherman, a history professor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Okla., and Kevin Anderson of Anna, who ran as a Libertarian last year.

The Express News gives David Van Os' filing a little coverage:

David Van Os, a local attorney active in Democratic circles, said he will officially kick off his campaign for Texas attorney general today by filing the required paperwork at the Texas Democratic Party headquarters in Austin.

"Texas belongs to all the people, and they are entitled to a people's lawyer as attorney general who'll fight to restore it to them," Van Os said.

Van Os challenges Greg Abbott, a Republican who has held the seat since 2002.

He has the support of former Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower, who said of Van Os: "The people will have a lawyer who represents them for a change."

Van Os has made two other bids for state office. He ran unsuccessfully for the Texas Supreme Court in 1998 and 2004.

Capitol Inside has some news from the State Rep front:

Jesse Martin - a Central Texas Democrat who led an internal revolt against the state Democratic Party's leadership three years ago - filed Monday to run for the Texas House seat that State Rep. Suzanne Hupp is vacating next year.

Martin, a rancher from the Buchanan Dam area, is the only Democrat so far to enter the competition for House District 54 seat that Hupp first won in 1996. Two Republicans - former Killeen school board member Jimmie Don Aycock and Olympic gold medal winner Hans Dersch of Marble Falls - have been campaigning for the seat. Aycock also filed Monday for a place on the March 7 primary election ballot.

Martin - a former State Democratic Executive Committee member and key player in the Progressive Populist Caucus - sponsored a resolution in early 2003 designed to force then-state chair Molly Beth Malcolm out of the leadership role in the wake of the party's collapse at the polls the previous November. Malcolm's critics argued that new leadership was needed, pointing to the party's failure to win a single statewide race during her four years at the helm.


Thirty-one House candidates including 19 incumbents have filed so far for next year's campaigns. Seven of 12 candidates who've filed for congressional races are current members - and all but one of five contenders to pay filing fees for state Senate contests are incumbents.

The list of challengers with military experience grew when Democrat K.J. "Bear" Gleason of Athens submitted his application for the race for the seat that State Rep. Betty Brown of Terrell holds. Brown, a Republican, also filed Monday for re-election to the seat that she's held for the past seven years. She's expected to face Kaufman attorney Wade Gent in the GOP primary. There's speculation that Austin lawyer Andy Brown could become the first casualty in the competition for House District 48 seat as a result of residency questions that came up when Governor Rick Perry set a January 17 special election to replace former lawmaker Todd Baxter after he resigned early last month.

Brown - the first Democratic candidate to enter the HD 48 race - apparently moved into the district in time to qualify for the March 7 primary vote. But questions have been raised about whether he's lived in the district long enough to meet the residency requirements for candidates who run in the special election, which the governor declared an emergency and scheduled to take place almost two months before the primary vote.

Two Democrats - Donna Howard and Kathy Rider - have filed to run in the special election and plan to compete for the Democratic nomination in the March 7 primary as well. Republican Ben Bentzin says he will also seek the open Austin seat in both the special and primary elections next year. Bentzin and other prospective candidates have until December 19 to file for the special election - and they can wait until January 2 to submit their applications for places on the primary ballot if they so choose.

Bentzin - a high-tech investor who fell short in a bid to unseat Democratic State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos in 2002 - is the only Republican in the HD 48 race at this point. While Bentzin appears to have support from the GOP establishment, some Republicans have reportedly attempted to persuade Eanes school board member Gail King to throw her name into the ring as well.

King won a seat on the school board in the west Austin district three years ago after retiring from the banking business - and some Republicans think her education background would help offset whatever advantages Rider and Howard may have in the HD 48 competition as former school trustees themselves.

I've noted the HD54 seat before, and while it's a longshot to flip, it's not impossible, so it's nice to have a Democrat in the race. As for HD48, I thought it would be hard for the scenarios there to get more complicated, but there you go.

It's not a filing, but the Statesman says we may have a more crowded Democratic field for Governor after all.

Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Bob Gammage has decided to enter the 2006 Democratic gubernatorial primary, raising the possibility of at least a three-person fray for a chance to chase the Republican nominee in November.

Gammage, who filed paperwork with the Texas Ethics Commission designating himself the treasurer of his gubernatorial campaign last month, intends to announce next week, according to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid pre-empting the kickoff.

"It's a go," the source said.


Bruce Buchanan, a government professor at the University of Texas, said a three-way race could generate interest in candidates who would otherwise be overshadowed by the high-powered GOP primary pitting Strayhorn against Perry.

"If they start chipping at each other, maybe somebody will notice," Buchanan said.

As long as they notice that the GOP primary for Governor is not where the action is, I'll be happy.

Last but not least, there have been no surprise filings or non-filings as yet. There have been plenty of rumors of who might run for what, so as long as there's time there's also the possibility of something coming out of left field. I'm hearing a little chatter that Pete Laney may not actually be retiring but may instead be preparing to run for something statewide (and let me give a tip of the hat to PDiddie for picking up on that right away). Nothing substantive to that, just talk, but you never know.

I'll keep an eye on these stories, but there's a lot of ground to cover, and they don't always make the papers. If you know of other filings of interest, please leave a comment or drop me a note. Thanks!

UPDATE: I asked, I received. From a press release from Joe Nixon:

Rep. Joe Nixon today became the first individual to file the papers necessary to become an official candidate in the March 2006 Senate District 7 Republican Primary.


The filing period to become an official candidate in the March 2006 Senate District 7 Primary technically opened Saturday, December 3rd, but since the HCRP office was closed this weekend Rep. Nixon could not file until [Monday] morning - which he did at 9:35am. The filing period closes January 2, 2006 at 6:00pm.

Give the man points for promptness. Unlike the Governor's race, the SD07 GOP primary will indeed be a race to watch, and unless a Dem steps up it will be the de facto election for that seat. Twenty-seven days to go, people.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 06, 2005 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

Hey, BOR was on the Laney statement... either lobbying or a statewide bid.

Martin in 54, he was my old SDEC rep, got soundly defeated last year in Houston. I'm glad he's running, but he's, well, far from stellar.

Posted by: Karl-T on December 6, 2005 9:42 AM

Karl-T: Sorry, I must have read your post before the update. You're right, you were on it right away as well.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on December 6, 2005 9:55 AM

Now only if Eye on Williamson County was also keeping an eye on Travis in addition to Harris. hehe.

Posted by: Karl-T on December 6, 2005 10:10 AM

and from:

"My Son's in Iraq and I'm Running for Congress in Texas"

by Mary Beth Harrell TX CD31

Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 07:54:28 AM PDT

On the day the President delivered his speech to a captive audience of Naval Academy cadets, we said good-bye to our oldest boy, Rob, as he headed off for the war in Iraq. My husband, Bob, a Reagan Republican and retired Army warrant officer, was furious. He's fed up with the empty rhetoric that is sending our son to fight what we now know is a meaningless war.

My opponent, John Carter, recently called the war "a huge success." Over 2000 American soldiers killed. At least 15,000 wounded, many grievously. Over 200 billion of our tax dollars spent to invade and occupy Iraq, while the insurgency grows daily and the killing skyrockets.

Mary Beth Harrell TX CD31's diary :: ::

I don't know one soldier who has served in Iraq - or any military family - who believes the Iraq war is a success.

U.S. Congressman John Murtha, a retired Marine Colonel and Vietnam Vet, has called "for immediate redeployment of U.S. troops, consistent with the safety of U.S. forces, to create a quick-reaction force in the region, to create an over-the-horizon presence of Marines, and to diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq." He is absolutely right.

My opponent, John Carter, joined a small shameless gang of Republican Congressman to accuse Murtha, recipient of two Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star and the Vietnamese Cross for Gallantry, of wanting "to take the cowardly way out."

John Carter does not deserve, much less understand, the sacrifice and bravery of the volunteer soldiers he sent to fight and die in Iraq.

We are a military family. We do not flinch at the call to arms - the call of duty. We are so proud of our oldest boy. Our three little grandgirls will miss their daddy. Our hearts will ache with worry until he returns safely to us.

Meanwhile, I will continue on the road I set out on months ago; to challenge Republican John Carter in the 31st Congressional District of Texas and win next November. Please visit my website at

Posted by: Prove Our Democracy with Paper Ballots on December 6, 2005 11:27 AM

the link to above:

and for my suggestion on how to win in Iraq and what to do with the billion plus reward offered:

"Marshall Plan"
...ring a bell...
...the planning from our grandparents...
...from WWII
...worked in Germany and Japan.

As for the reward ...

- wounded veterans
- Katrina and Rita survivors
- and families in Iraq
to address their needs of
water, food, shelter, and health care.

Posted by: Support Science to Reverse Global Warming, if still possible on December 6, 2005 12:52 PM

Where in the district is Lamar?

Posted by: Where Is Lamar on December 6, 2005 12:52 PM