December 15, 2005
Filing news: Heflin chooses, Gammage files

Big news today. First, Bob Gammage has officially filed for the Democratic nomination for Governor.

Gammage, 67, a former legislator and congressman who left the state's high court in 1995 and is now in private law practice, said his campaign will center on ousting Republican Gov. Rick Perry and his "corrupt political machine."

"This campaign is about reform. It's about opening state government and policy-making to public scrutiny, letting the sun shine in," Gammage said.

With a painting of a yacht in a tropical setting beside him, Gammage brought up several times Perry's 2004 trip to the Bahamas with wealthy campaign donors. Perry has said he discussed school finance on that trip, which he paid for with campaign donations.

"We don't need a state government run from yachts," Gammage said. "Here's my first campaign promise: As governor of Texas, I'll make policy in the state capitol. I won't be making it in the Bahamas."


The last time Gammage ran for office was 1990. Even though he's been out of office for several years, he said, he believes he is still known and thought of favorably by voters.

Bell's spokesman, Jason Stanford, said of Gammage's candidacy: "Democrats have a choice between looking into the future and reaching back into the past."

Welcome to the race, Bob. I'm a Chris Bell supporter, but I'm glad to have you here. I agree with the comment Karl-T left here: Having a contested primary means news, a reason to talk about Democratic candidates for the next four months, and a chance for both candidates to figure out early how to defend themselves against the inevitable attacks that will come later on. I hope you keep the debate clean, gentlemen, but beyond that make your case as forcefully as you can, and remember who the real opponent ultimately will be.

Meanwhile, Talmadge Heflin has made his choice, and that choice is for a rematch against Rep. Hubert Vo.

Former state Rep. Talmadge Heflin has withdrawn his application to become the Texas Lottery Commission's next executive director and instead filed Thursday to run for the seat he lost by 16 votes last year to a political newcomer.

Heflin, who applied last month at commission chairman C. Thomas Clowe's request, appeared to be a front-runner for the post. But he told The Associated Press on Thursday that he believed his skills and experience would get their best use in the Legislature.

"I made a decision that it would better serve the state of Texas and the people of House District 149 for me to run for my previous seat," Heflin said.

Once again, I say: Bring it on, Talmadge. I just want to know, is the GOP field cleared for him, or will he be challenged in the primary?

Elsewhere, there's now a three-way fight to challenge State Rep. Mark Strama in HD50, and we learn something about Darrel Reece Hunter.

Dave McNeely makes some sharp obervations about Carole Keeton "Guess what my race and affiliation are now!" Strayhorn.

Since she announced last summer she'd take on Gov. Rick Perry in the Republican primary next year, Strayhorn seems to be fumbling and stumbling. She may, in fact, be wishing she'd announced for re-election instead -- and some speculate she still might.


Strayhorn has until Jan. 2 -- the filing deadline -- to decide whether she'll stay in the race for governor as a Republican, return to the Democratic Party or run as an independent, or seek re-election.

Her campaign office says Strayhorn, who is 65, will follow through on her goal to win the GOP nomination for governor. If she does change her mind and seek another term as comptroller, she would by no means be the first ambitious pol to choose re-election over another race at the last minute. For instance, then-Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower backed out of a U.S. Senate race in 1990, only to get beat for re-election by Perry.

Working against the re-election idea is that current Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs is running for comptroller, and state Sen. Todd Staples, R-Palestine,

is running for Combs' current job. Tough Grandma Strayhorn actually might lose if she and Combs go head to head.

To spectators, this is what makes Texas politics attractive. It is seldom pretty, but almost always interesting.

Seems obvious now that he mentions it, but it hadn't actually occurred to me that CKS might ultimately decide to stay put. I agree with McNeely in that I think she'd lose to Susan Combs, who's probably looking at the Governor's mansion herself in 2010 (the primary fight she'd have with David Dewhurst might actually be the battle royale everyone thought Perry vs. KBH would have been). Greg has been saying for a long time now that he doesn't see a scenario in which CKS is on the ballot as an R next November.

Still, as the article notes and as PerryVsWorld reiterates, CKS has not yet started to spend her campaign funds on TV ads. It won't be enough to take down Perry (though it should take him downa notch, and make the final score a bit more respectable), but it could be enough to give her a leg up on the lesser known Combs. So who knows?

Oh, and David Dewhurst has filed his reelection papers for Lite Guv (see the end of the Gammage story). No drama in that race, and despite some earlier buzz there's no word about a serious Democratic contender as yet.

Finally, if you're driving down US59 outside Edna on the way to Victoria, you might see this on the side of the road. Shane Sklar has a big fundraiser tonight in Victoria and another coming up soon in Austin; with a little luck, he could approach Ron Paul's tally by the end of the year. The Q4 numbers will be interesting to see, that's for sure.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 15, 2005 to Election 2006 | TrackBack