Bell says he’s in for Senate

We have a competitive primary now.

Chris Bell

Former U.S. Rep. Chris Bell is running for the Democratic nomination for Senate, joining what could be a crowded field of candidates looking to oust incumbent Republican John Cornyn.

Bell on Tuesday filed a fundraising committee with the Federal Elections Committee, signaling that he’s off and running in what will be Texas’ marquee race in 2020.

“I’m definitely running, but I won’t make an official announcement until later,” Bell told The Dallas Morning News. “This allows me to raise money.”

The Houston Democrat was trying to haul in cash through an exploratory committee, which can be a non-starter for some political donors who want to know if a candidate is serious about a campaign.

He’ll join former Air Force helicopter pilot MJ Hegar in the Democratic field. State Sen. Royce West of Dallas and Houston council member Amanda Edwards are considering jumping into the race.

Edwards would have to resign her seat on the council to run, while West, re-elected last year, can run from his perch in the Texas Senate.

See here for the background. That’s actually not true about Amanda Edwards. She would presumably have to not run for re-election to Council this November if she wants to run for Senate, but she won’t have to quit her seat if she announces. I’ve heard conflicting things about her intentions, and I’ve heard that Royce West is all in. With the June fundraising deadline passed, so the pressure is back down to normal for reporting totals, I figure we’ll start hearing yeses or noes from these folks soon.

As for Bell, he’d been fundraising – I’ve gotten some of his emails – but being committed is a far better way to get the cash than being curious. He’ll need to set a date for his official announcement, and start getting out there to meet folks. I wish him luck. The Trib and the Chron have more.

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7 Responses to Bell says he’s in for Senate

  1. SocraticGadfly says:

    This, of course, makes the assumption Dems didn’t have a competitive one before. With three or four candidates previously announced, of course, it very likely would have been competitive. Shouldn’t make assumptions either about how little Hegar’s opposition brings to the floor, or about how much (not much, IMO) Bell is now bringing.

    As for Royce? No,10 days ago, you heard he was doing his due diligence. You didn’t hear that he was “all in.” We’ll see if he really decides he can abandon his big Pullman suitcases of baggage.

  2. asmith says:

    Gadfly, Royce has been interviewing consultants for the race. He’s in. You’ll see an announcement before the end of the month.

  3. Mainstream says:

    I don’t see a path for Bell to defeat Sen. Cornyn, and have doubts that Sen. West would appeal to the new voters energized by Beto in the last cycle.

  4. SocraticGadfly says:

    Asmith, we’ve been back and forth on this on a previous post of Kuff’s. As for interviewing consultants, etc.? He did at least a bit of that in 2014 before pulling his head back in his shell.

    We’ll see when we see. And not before.

  5. General Grant says:

    Bell is just trying to make history for losing elections to every available legislative body (City Council 1995, State House 1984, State Senate 2008, US House 2004, US Senate 2020) and executive position (Governor 2006, and Mayor 2001, 2015).

    We know what he’ll be doing in 2024.

  6. asmith says:

    I don’t think MJ can win a primary with a heavy black vote coming out of Dallas, Tarrant, Harris and east Texas for West. Winning Travis, west Texas and suburban counties won’t be enough.

    I think either west or mj will hold their own against Cornyn. The key is to continue to register and turn out more voters in the urban counties especially Harris.

  7. asmith says:

    There’s going to be a ton of political investment in this state with dems trying to win the Texas House, hold 2 congressional seats, and target at least 4 other seats.

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