Hank Gilbert – East Texas rancher, former schoolteacher and newly announced Democratic candidate for governor – said today that improving public education is critical in revitalizing the state’s economy and putting Texas back on a solid foundation.
“The future of our economy depends on creating school systems that prepare our children to succeed by giving them the knowledge and skills to prosper,” Gilbert said, as he kicked off his campaign at a union hall in Dallas.
“It’s the only guaranteed way of bringing long-term prosperity back to this state.”
Dallas was the first stop in a 13-city tour that Gilbert hopes will help him score the Democratic nomination for governor.
In 2006, Gilbert was the Democratic nominee for Texas agriculture commissioner. He got more votes than any other Democrat running for a statewide office, but lost to Republican Todd Staples.
If he is to win his party’s gubernatorial nomination, he has work to do.
His announcement in Dallas drew 10 people, including four from the news media and two from his campaign.
Schieffer has been campaigning for months. And Friedman is a popular Texas celebrity with huge name recognition.
As I said before, I think Gilbert undercuts whatever cachet Kinky might have had as the anti-establishment/non-Schieffer candidate. Regardless, don’t confuse being well-known with being well-liked. The Democratic base – you know, the folks who will actually vote in March – loathes Friedman. Schieffer has the Bush issue to get past, but in my estimation Friedman has the much steeper hill to climb to atone for his sins, and he only made his official entrance a couple of weeks ago.
I personally consider myself neutral in this race at this point. I like Hank, though I still kinda wish he were running for Ag Commissioner again. I’m going to let things play out and see who impresses me the most – Gilbert, Schieffer, Ronnie Earle if he ever gets off the pot, Farouk Shami, someone else if such a person materializes. Among other things, I want to see how they do with fundraising. I wish there were a September reporting deadline for state races, but alas there isn’t. Gilbert had a target of raising $100K by the time he announced; he appears to have fallen just short of that, according to the “Fill Hank’s Hat” graphic on his website. Beyond that, we’ll just see how it goes.
UPDATE: I have been informed by the Gilbert campaign that the event in Dallas was media-only, so the “attended by 10 people” descriptor is misleading. Also, as noted by McBlogger in the comments, they did exceed 100K raised before the deadline. Good for them for that.