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March 23, 2004

Politicial Rumblings in Texas

By Byron LaMasters

Charles has some good posts today about some interesting stories developing in Texas elections.

In another sign of Republican discontent with Governor Perry, Kay Bailey Hutchison hinted yesterday (to Ann Richards of all people) that she was considering returning home to Texas to run for governor in 2006. The Dallas Morning News reports:

Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and former Democratic Gov. Ann Richards don't agree on much.

But they both feel like it's time to return to Texas and get a dog.

For Ms. Hutchison, a longtime senator who has recently adopted two children, returning home could mean taking on Republican Gov. Rick Perry in 2006.

On Friday she told more than 200 women gathered at the Women's Museum for a conversation between her and Ms. Richards that she was considering a 2006 campaign for governor.

The comments were yet another indication that she is aiming for the governor's mansion.

In other election news, Henry Cuellar has called for a recount in his 145 vote loss to Ciro Rodriguez in the Democratic primary for CD 28. The San Antonio Express-News reports:

Henry Cuellar, the Laredo lawyer who narrowly lost to incumbent U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez in the Democratic primary, called for a recount today an hour before the deadline.

“There is a cloud over this election,” Cuellar said at his Laredo campaign headquarters. “I think all of the voters demand a fair election, and that is why I'm requesting a manual recount of all of the votes in all eleven counties.”

Cuellar addressed members of the news media shortly after campaign officials dropped off the recount petition and a cashier's check for $13,930 at state Democratic Party offices in Austin.


District 28 includes 11 counties and runs from Hays County in the north to Zapata County in the south. More than 48,500 votes were cast in the race.

The final canvass by the Texas Democratic Primary on Saturday revealed a 145-vote margin in Rodriguez’s favor.

Because the contest took place during a primary, the Texas Democratic Party will conduct the recount. Recounts arising out of a general election are handled by the Texas secretary of state’s office.

Party officials have two days to review Cuellar’s petition and ensure its accuracy. Once the petition is approved, the recount must begin within seven days, said Jim Boynton, primary director for the Texas Democratic Party.

Each county involved in the recount will be contacted and a time scheduled for the recount. Both Cuellar and Rodriguez have the right to be present with one or more representatives at each recount site, Boynton said.

The recount will likely be completed early next month, before the runoff election on April 13, he said.

This race was an election night squeaker with the final results unknown until the next morning when the Zapata County returns came in, where Cuellar won, but not by a big enough margin to make up for Rodriguez's margin in Bexar County (San Antonio), that had come in late the night before (off-setting an early Cuellar lead based on early Webb County (Laredo) returns). I doubt that the recount will change anything, but you can't really blame Cuellar. When you're 145 votes away from going to Congress, $14,000 doesn't seem like a whole lot of money anymore.

Greg's Opinoin has more speculation on the 2006 elections. Apparently, defeated Congressman Chris Bell is considering running for Attorney General in 2006. There's more from Houston political consultant George Strong. Strong speculates that Chris Bell is considering running for Attorney General in 2006, or possibly joining a John Kerry administration in 2005. Strong also writes on the good signs for this fall for Democrats in Harris County based on a very strong turnout (especially among African-Americans) in the Democratic Primary election there:

Al Green ran a good campaign and had help getting his voters to the polls by the Allen/Wilson race and the campaigns of 15 candidates running for the District Constable 7 race. Those two races combined with the Green/Bell race did get a good turnout in the African-American precincts. Early analysis showed that while only 4% of the Anglo voters in CD 9 turned out almost 10% of the African-American voters showed up. The Gossips think that is a good sign for the fall election.

And it did look like more Democrats voted statewide and in Harris County then did Republicans. The Gossips wonder if that is also a good sign for the fall.

The Gossips were not surprised by Ron Wilson defeat by Alma Allen. Wilson did run a spirited campaign, but not having to run a campaign for many years does cause problems. And Wilson had not done much to communicate with his voters over the years, he was too busy making money as an attorney. Wilson says he will now consider lobbying in Austin and has had several offers. The Gossips think Wilson will be much in demand for his knowledge of the rules. Some folks think Wilson will also look at running for another office in 2006.

I'll stand ready to oppose Ron Wilson in whatever comeback attempt he might make, but I agree with Greg, that such a comeback attempt is probably doubtful.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at March 23, 2004 03:14 PM | TrackBack


"This race was an election night squeaker with the final results unknown until the next morning when the Zavala County returns came in."

Correction: It was Zapata County, not Zavala.

...Interesting about Hutchison..

Posted by: Eduardo J. Klein at March 23, 2004 06:49 PM

what will the Texas democratic line-up look like in '06.

Will people like Chris Bell, Ken Bentson, Ron Kirk be running for statewide office?

Posted by: TC-TX-Dem at March 23, 2004 09:45 PM

Eduardo - Thanks for the correction.

TC-TX-Dem - Not sure about Ron Kirk. I think that Jim Turner ought to be on any list of 2006 candidates (most likely governor). I'd also bet that someone like Max Sandlin or Chet Edwards (if either or both lose re-election) would make a good Senate candidate. Ed Garza (San Antonio mayor) is also mentioned frequently as a future statewide candidate. State Rep. Richard Raymond ran statewide in 1998, and he might run again, but I doubt that he'd give up his seat to run an uphill battle.

All - sorry about the all italics here for a few hours there. I was having some trouble amending my post to include the George Strong bit at the end. It all worked out eventually.

Posted by: Byron L at March 23, 2004 09:55 PM

I'd agree with Byron. I don't expect Chris Bell to run statewide. I think one name Byron left out was 1998 Comptroller candidate Paul Hobby. He's only like 42 and I think he wants a shot at Governor or Lt. Governor. He lost to Carole Keeton-McClellan-Rylander-Strayhorn 50.4-49.6

If KBH does beat Perry, Dewhurst may change his mind and run for her Senate seat. 2006 is still such a long time from now. I think Turner, Hobby, Stenholm for AG Commish (if he loses his seat in 2004), will all be on the ticket.

I don't think Ron Kirk will run. He wants to make a bunch of money right now.

Posted by: pc at March 24, 2004 10:47 AM
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