May 28, 2008
Janek resigns

It's official - State Sen. Kyle Janek has handed in his resignation letter to Governor Perry. Perry now has to set a special election date, which I'd guess will be November 4, same as the regular election. He can always declare an emergency and set a date sooner than that, but I don't see why he would, unless he thinks it'd give whoever his favored Republican candidate is an edge.

As it happens, Rick Casey wrote today about the possibility of Chris Bell running for the seat, and includes a poll tidbit that I'd heard about:

Now a group of trial lawyers who provide considerable Democratic funding is pushing former congressman and gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell to run.

The group funded a poll of the district a couple of weeks ago which provided some enticing numbers in a race between Bell and Furse, whom the poll identified as a conservative Houston businessman who served as a policy advisor to the first President Bush.

The poll results: Bell 43, Furse 29.

Furse's dismal showing is partly the result of lack of name recognition, which would be cured by a well-funded campaign. If the trial lawyers generously funded Bell, the business community, including Texans for Lawsuit Reform, could be counted on to be at least as generous for Furse, or for some other Republican on the ballot.

Bell says he is looking closely at the race.

He would have the advantage of being the only Democrat on a ballot in which several Republicans would split their vote. (It's not a matter of Democratic party discipline, traditionally an oxymoron, but because Democrats know their only shot in a district still clearly Republican is to have only one candidate on the ballot.)

Another advantage Bell would have, and this would be true whenever the election is held, is that straight-ticket voting would not apply. That would help to dampen whatever edge the Republicans may have in numbers, even if only a bit. At this point, I think there's a decent chance Bell will run, and if so I think he'd at the very least be able to raise the resources he'd need to make a strong challenge. But first we need to know when the election is, and then when the filing deadline for it is. Your move, Governor.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 28, 2008 to Election 2008
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