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Mike Collier

Villarreal not running for Comptroller

One name off the board.

Rep. Mike Villarreal

State Rep. Mike Villarreal said Wednesday he has decided against a statewide run for comptroller and will instead campaign for re-election in San Antonio’s District 123.

Villarreal said he has been encouraged by Democrat activists and colleagues to run for Texas’ chief financial officer but that obligations to his family, in particular his children in second and fourth grade, will keep him on the statewide sidelines for now.

“Timing is everything in politics,” he said, adding that he is “very optimistic” that this is the year Democrats will end their nearly 20-year cold streak and win a statewide post. “But the timing is not good for me.”

Villarreal, who represents north central San Antonio, studied economics at Texas A&M University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard and is chairman of the House Investments and Financial Services committee. A run at statewide office for any House member would require forfeiting their seat, and in this case, a chairmanship.

When asked what will be different this election cycle to turn the tides for Democrats statewide, he pointed to state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth.

I’m not terribly surprised by this, nor am I terribly disappointed. Like Sen. Davis, Rep. Villarreal would have to give up his seat to run statewide, which like her would mean giving up a lot for no sure thing, but unlike Sen. Davis he’d start out as basically an unknown, he’d have a much smaller fundraising base – Rep. Villarreal had $54K on hand in July, and raised $52,500 more in August, not exactly statewide numbers – and as candidate for Comptroller he’d have far less control over the outcome. No question, there’s a lot of Democratic talent in the House, but as I said before, I’d prefer to see other avenues taken before tapping that talent this year, as the steady replacement of mainstream Republicans by ignorant teabagger nihilists makes its presence in the lower chamber that much more vital. EoW suggests former Sen. Eliot Shapleigh of El Paso as a recruiting target, and I’m all in in that. For what it’s worth, the Dems do have a declared Comptroller candidate already, so at least we’re not trying to fill in a blank. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep looking for better candidates, and we still have some other slots to fill, most notably Attorney General, but we’ll have to look at someone other than Rep. Villarreal to fill them. Texpatriate, whose interpretation of Rep. Villarreal’s remarks I don’t agree with, has more.

Dems have a Comptroller candidate

BOR introduces us to Mike Collier.

Mike Collier

Earlier this month the Burnt Orange Report wrote about a “Mystery Houston-Area Democrat” who was building a statewide team, it turns out that man is Mike Collier, and he wants to be the next Comptroller for the state of Texas. The Houston businessman believes our state government needs an experienced CFO to handle its complex accounting and to hold our current elected officials accountable.

Collier not only wants the job, but believes he is the most qualified. He says Texas needs a Comptroller with a professional financial background and one who is not using the position as a stepping stone for higher office.

“For too long, the people we’ve hired to mind Texas’ tax dollars have been more interested in their political ambition than in holding politicians accountable. Texas needs a Comptroller who has the courage to tell taxpayers the truth and who has the know-how to hold the Texas legislature accountable.”

Collier says his business experience will be attractive to conservatives but that, “the Comptroller shouldn’t be beholden to the Republican party,” instead they should offer an independent view of the state’s finances. He served as executive assistant to the world chairman of Price Waterhouse, the world’s largest professional services firm with over 100,000 employees. He was a partner at Price Waterhouse Coopers for a dozen years and for a time served as a Merger and Acquisition consultant for their major energy clients. He left PWC to become Chief Financial Officer for an energy company. He then met a crossroads after he helped sell the company two years later — take a lucrative job in the private sector or step up and run for public office.

[…]

He is encouraged by the crowded field in the Republican primary which could leave the emerging candidate bloodied and broke. Another reason he cited was the “Wendy Davis factor”. He looks forward to her campaign energizing the donor base and spearheading an effective effort to get out the vote, but says that it’s her polling with anglos that could give Democrats the best opportunity to win that they have had in a very long time.

I am not yet acquainted with Mr. Collier, but I’m sure I’ll have the opportunity to meet him soon enough. Collier joins John Cook in the potential Democratic field for 2014, though of course we’re all just waiting for Sen. Wendy Davis’ announcement and to see what follows from there. I have heard about some other candidate recruitment going on, but nothing that I can say out loud just yet. I’m sure there will be plenty to talk about once we know what Sen. Davis’ decision is. In the meantime, welcome to the race and best of luck to you, Mike Collier.