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Statewide race for Earle?

Well, this is interesting news.

Retired for all of four months, former Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle is considering running for a new job, possibly as the state’s top lawyer.

“There have been people who have talked to me about statewide runs,” for either governor or attorney general, said Earle, who served as Travis County’s top prosecutor for 31 years before retiring in December.

Eye on Williamson has been on the Earle-for-Governor bandwagon for months now, so this ought to make him happy. I think just the fact that “people” have been talking to Earle about a possible statewide run next year suggests that these people, who one presumes are the type who can actually make a campaign financially viable, think such a race is winnable. That says something about the political climate these days. Such optimism may be misplaced, but give how not too long ago the meme was that Democrats had already punted on the 2010 elections, it’s remarkable in and of itself.

Earle is an appealing candidate in many ways. He’s well known around the state, which is something you can’t say for many Texas Dems. He’d have no trouble firing up the base, thanks to his pursuit of Tom DeLay. Even better, the DeLay brand is sullied enough that any resentment of this case would likely be limited for the most part to folks who wouldn’t vote for any Democrat anyway. The eventual and long-awaited prosecutions of DeLay and his cronies would keep Earle’s name in the news even with him gone from the Travis County DA’s office. If everyone gets acquitted it would be a negative for him, but I think the odds are pretty good of at least some convictions. Earle’s reputation is that of a straight-shooter, which would play very nicely with any kind of reform message. All in all, there’s a lot to like about this.

Now of course, Democrats already have candidates for each of these offices. With all due respect to Tom Schieffer, I’d vote for Ronnie Earle in a heartbeat for the gubernatorial nomination. But if Sen. Leticia Van de Putte runs, I’d likely prefer her, as I think her legislative experience will make her the stronger candidate. Attorney General would be an excellent fit for Earle, and as much as I respect Barbara Radnofsky, I’d be strongly inclined to support Earle for that office. Maybe BAR might consider shifting focus to the Supreme Court if Earle does jump in – that’s where statewide Dems have gotten their highest vote totals in the past couple of elections, and her name ID would be as much of an asset there as anywhere else on the ballot.

Of course, all this is predicated on Earle actually taking the plunge in one of these races. I’ve lost count of the number of “so-and-so is considering a run for something” stories I’ve seen in the past few years; if I had a nickel for each one, my 401(k) would still be worth something. If and when we hear more about his ambitions, or those of anyone else who might be lurking out there, we’ll figure it all out then. Thanks to BOR for the tip.

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