March 01, 2007
What does Kos know about TX-Sen?

Kos notes Sen. Cornyn's typically poor approval numbers, then goes on to tease us:

Several names have bandied about by Texas Democrats, including turncoat Henry Cuellar (who I'd love to see crushed in a primary, his House seat going to a real Democrat). But there's a name I haven't seen publicly, but whispered on the ground.

I won't reveal confidences at this time (no need to paint a bulls eye on his/her back this early out), but if this candidate runs, we'd have a genuine people-powered candidate in the Lone Star State. In fact, of all potential candidates I've seen so far this cycle, this person excites me most of all.

There's much speculation in the comments, some of which veers into ridiculousness (Jim Hightower? Seriously? I don't think so.), but other than a denial about Lance Armstrong, nothing that looks like a clue to the person he has in mind. (And once again, it won't be this guy.) So let's look at all the names that have been even remotely bandied about and see what we can come up with:

Bill White

Everyone agrees that White would be a formidable statewide candidate. I just don't think it'll be in 2008. As was the case with speculation over him running for Governor in 2006, he'd have to file for the primary before he was sworn in for his next term in office as Mayor. I believe Mayor White has a to-do list in mind for his tenure as Mayor, and I don't believe he intends to leave before he has a chance to finish it. If he's running statewide some day, I say it's in 2010 for Governor.

Jim Turner, Ron Kirk, John Sharp

All three are commonly cited as possibilities, mostly to fill out the list since there's no evidence any of them really has an eye on this prize. All would be fine fundraisers, but none strikes me as a Kos "people-powered" candidate.

Barbara Radnofsky

Kos paid no attention to her in 2006 (hers was an extreme longshot race, so that's not surprising), and I don't see him getting excited about her this time, either. If it were up to me, I'd want to see BAR run for a judgeship, either on the Supreme Court or the CCA.

Henry Cuellar

Obviously not who Kos has in mind, though I believe he'd make a strong candidate, and that those of us (myself included) who dislike what he's done as Congressman would have to make peace with that.

Nick Lampson

Rumors about Lampson looking at Cornyn's seat began before last November. I've no reason to believe they're true. The prospect of Lampson trying to move up might be exciting to Kos, but he's practical enough to know that this would mean kissing CD22 goodbye. The same is true for Chet Edwards, about whom I've heard no speculation and who would also have some bad votes to dampen any of Kos' enthusiasm further.

Kirk Watson

He's someone Kos would like, he's got a statewide run under his belt, he can fundraise well, and he wouldn't have to abandon his State Senate seat for this race, since he would not otherwise be on the ballot in 2008. Put him down as a possibility.

Pete Gallego, Rick Noriega

Two more candidates Kos would like. Neither starts out with much money in the bank, so if it's one of them, expect to see some action as soon as the House adjourns sine die. Noriega may have his dance card full this year if Melissa Noriega wins the May special election and has to run another competitive campaign in November.

Richard Morrison

Now we're talking Kos-styled "people power". Except that Morrison apparently has his eye on the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court, and he stumped for Noriega in the comments.

Thinking about Morrison, and what Kos means when he says "people powered", got me wondering about another person, one who would meet that definition and about whom there has been no public speculation. With that in mind, consider:

John Courage

Courage ran a spirited campaign that had the legs cut out from underneath it when the Supremes forced CD21 to be redrawn. He still gave it the old college try, and he's still got a network in place. This is pure guessing on my part, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this is who Kos has in mind.

Obviously, I may be overlooking some other possibilities. Feel free to add on in the comments.

UPDATE: There were two people mentioned in the comments to Kos' post that I think are worth adding to the discussion:

Lloyd Doggett

Doggett would get progressives fired up, his Congressional seat would be easy to defend if it opened up, and he's got plenty of money to start out. Of course, the reason he has plenty of money is that he didn't need to spend it on his own cobalt-blue district last year, and he declined to share any of his boodle with other, less well off but more competitive, candidates. I guarantee that Kos will remember that (or will be forcefully reminded of it), so that throws a wet blanket over Doggett.

Paul Hobby

Hobby came within a whisker of beating Carole Keeton Rylander (not yet Strayhorn) for Comptroller in 1998; he was the nearest Dem to a victory that year. He's got a recognizable name and no obvious baggage I can think of. He's also been out of the spotlight since 1998, and has no grassroots following that I can think of, either.

Anybody else?

UPDATE: Stace throws State Rep. Richard Raymond into the mix. Raymond also has a statewide run under his belt, and one could certainly interpret what he's done so far this session (as Stace points out) as a stereotypical "move to the middle" maneuver. As with most of the other candidates, I'm not sure about the "people powered" part, and he had a bit of a stumble in 2006 when after his abortive primary challenge to Henry Cuellar he almost lost his House seat, which had drawn other contenders in his presumed absence who then refused to go away when he came back.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 01, 2007 to Election 2008 | TrackBack

My offhand take:

Bill White: Agreed he'll go for Governor in '10.

Jim Turner, Ron Kirk, John Sharp: Loser, Loser, Loser

Barbara Radnofsky: CCA all the way!

Henry Cuellar: No mas!

Nick Lampson: Snore.

Kirk Watson: A special-interest driven mayor and an unproven senator. Try '12.

Pete Gallego, Rick Noriega: No, and YEEEEESSSSS!

Richard Morrison: Win something first.

John Courage: Ditto.

So I guess if that bunch is the array of choices, I say run, Rick, run!

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast on March 1, 2007 7:18 AM

I am all about a Pete Gallego run. Only member in the house to have been on appropriations, higher ed, natural resources, etc etc.

He has proven leadership with his years in the house, and has national ties to raise the real money needed to win.

He already represents a third of the state and has ties to the urban areas he needs.

I say Mr. Gallego is our best chance to win, but I like almost all of the candidates you listed.

Posted by: Topsy Kretts on March 1, 2007 9:37 AM

I think you likely hit the nail on the head with your Courage comment.

Unless of course the person up in the Comments thread was right when they guessed Maxey. That was laugh out loud funny. Oddly enough, I'd much rather it be Maxey than Courage if those were my options.

Posted by: TexasDem on March 1, 2007 10:15 AM

Have either Gallego or Noriega denied interest, or do y'all think that they are just waiting until after the session is over to announce their intentions? Since White seems more and more likely to run for guv in 2010, those two would be my top choice - a candidacy by either one would excite the hell out of me.

Posted by: Wade on March 1, 2007 10:26 AM

Who mentioned Maxey before you TexasDem?

I am not following your logic of Maxey vs Courage? Please explain to us.

Posted by: Topsy Kretts on March 1, 2007 10:28 AM

Can you imagine a Bill Richardson at the top of the ticket, with Gallego or Noriega running for Senate? You'd have some excited Texans getting out to vote!

Posted by: TexasDem on March 1, 2007 10:41 AM

Oh I guess that does need Clarification. I read the Maxey bit it in the Comments on the Kos thread linked by Kuff. Someone just threw Maxey's name out there. I would think folks would consider his campaign people-powered.

The comment I linked too is from KTinTexas. (Burnt Orange Report guy). He seems to know (or atleast think he does) who KOS is talking about. KT regularly talks (blogs) about his close relationships to both John Courage and Glen Maxey. He was part of the crew that encouraged Glen to run for state Chair, and he seems to have done a lot of Vol work for Courage in the past.

I'm going purely based on instinct and somewhat reading between the lines. It makes sense to me.

Posted by: TexasDem on March 1, 2007 10:49 AM

Yeah- the person Kos is talking about is in Kuff's list. (and no, it's not Maxey, lol, you'll probably see him run for something else if he was going to run for office)

Posted by: Karl-T on March 1, 2007 9:08 PM

I've been saying Rick Noriega for the past few years. I saw him last night at the Houston Democratic Forum and now I'm shouting.....Rick Noriega!!

Posted by: merci_me on March 2, 2007 10:23 AM

KW wants to be governor, not senator.

Please, don't encourage BAR to run - for anything.

Gallego - now that is a candidate a Dem could get excited about...

Posted by: Daisy on March 2, 2007 10:41 AM

Well, it seems like the mystery candidate might in fact be either Gallego or Noriega and I would be stoked as hell for either. When is this session over? Is that the time when most state legislators announce for higher office?

Posted by: Wade on March 2, 2007 1:16 PM

Maybe not until 2012, but Juan Garcia (HD 32) is another name that deserves real consideration.

Posted by: Madeleine on March 2, 2007 3:33 PM

Re: Wade

The mystery candidate is netroots favorite and perennial Candidate John Courage that, shockingly just started his own stateweide "nonpartisan" non profit grassroots organization with his name.

Posted by: SuziQ on March 3, 2007 2:05 PM

Oh, well Courage is good, too, lol. Is that definitely who Kos and Karl-Thomas are referring to? Now that I think about it, you're probably right. I do wish Gallego would jump in, though.

Posted by: Wade on March 3, 2007 6:56 PM

Re: SuziQ

It's not John Courage, actually. Though I did e-mail him about this thread and flattered as is was, he's focusing on his True Courage Action Network.

Posted by: Karl-T on March 3, 2007 7:01 PM

It's not John Courage, actually. Though I did e-mail him about this thread and flattered as is was, he's focusing on his True Courage Action Network.

Wow! Really? Amstrong was my guess until Kos denied it. Then, Courage was my guess even though he is NOT even mentioned in the kos thread.

My guess now is Noriega.

Posted by: blank on March 4, 2007 4:07 PM

Noriega would be an incredible candidate! This is starting to get interesting and exciting...

Posted by: Wade on March 4, 2007 7:32 PM

Well blank, don't let me keep you from guessing. That was a very insightful comment you found from December, I had forgotten about that.

Posted by: Karl-T on March 7, 2007 2:04 AM

Could Strama do it?

Posted by: EB on March 14, 2007 3:33 PM

For those who haven't figured out, its Noriega.

Posted by: Michael Hurta on March 14, 2007 10:01 PM