There’s at least one person who wants to run for Governor against Greg Abbott.
Democrat Jeffrey Payne of Dallas says he’s going to try. “I love Dallas, and I love Texas.”
Hours before Abbott’s announcement, Payne filed his paperwork at the Secretary of State’s Office in Austin. He’s a political newcomer who owns five small businesses, and says he will loan his campaign $2.5 million.
Payne says the state is too divided on the issues, and that he’s running to bring Texans together. “If we don’t have compromise, and compassion for one another, we’re never going to reach a resolution, and we’re just going to keep talking about it and kicking the can down the road.”
He says he’s in a same-sex marriage, but doesn’t believe people will focus on that — and instead, thinks they will consider whether he can solve the state’s problems.
Payne says the state doesn’t fund education adequately and believes the state should expand Medicaid, the healthcare program for the poor, and he also opposes the new state law banning sanctuary cities.
While he supports increasing border security, he says those who are in the U.S. illegally should be placed on a path to citizenship.
Payne says he had previously told the Texas Democratic Party he was thinking about running for governor, but hadn’t notified party leaders as of midday Friday.
A party spokesman declined comment about his candidacy.
But in an email Wednesday, Democratic Party Communications Director Tariq Thowfeek said, “The Texas Democratic Party is talking to a number of great leaders, and an announcement will come at the appropriate time. These Texans come from diverse backgrounds with proven track records of leadership, and an unwavering commitment to our shared Democratic values.”
When asked how he would convince millions of Texans to vote for someone they may never have heard of, Payne said, “For the next 16 months, it’s going to be pressing the flesh and getting out there.”
[SMU Political Science Professor Matthew] Wilson says the Texas Democratic Party will find others who have political experience to run against Abbott. “Whoever’s going to be the Democratic nominee, is going to be someone either who is a celebrity or someone with a significant record.”
Payne doesn’t have a website or Facebook page for his candidacy as yet, so there’s not much more I can tell you about him. I am sure that the party is beating the bushes to find someone else, and I feel reasonably confident that someone with a higher profile will emerge. To say the least, this is a tall order and a longshot race. If no no else has popped up by October or so, then I’ll re-evaluate. Until then, I wish Mr. Payne the best of luck. You can see a brief interview with him here, and Stace and the Dallas Voice have more.
UPDATE: As noted in the comments, there is now a second candidate in the race, Tom Wakely. Wakely ran against Lamar Smith in CD21 in 2016, and he filed a second-quarter FEC report, so his gubernatorial candidacy is a change of direction for him. I’ll do a separate post on him later.