This election season promises to be one for the books

Posted Monday, Sep. 02, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Some political candidates got a jump-start on their campaigns long before Labor Day, the unofficial beginning of the election season.

But others, while chomping at the bit to be off and running, are holding back as they wait to see what others might do — particularly in the case of state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, who’s contemplating a run for governor, a decision that could set off a chain reaction down the political ladder.

On the Republican side, Attorney General Greg Abbott announced weeks ago as a candidate to succeed the state’s longest-running governor, Rick Perry, who decided not to seek re-election. Abbott’s most prominent opponent is Tom Pauken of Port Aransas, a former state party chairman and former chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission.

Most of the other statewide offices have several Republican candidates, but no Democrats yet, a trend that has been common since Texas became a “red state” two decades ago.

Depending on what Davis does, that could change. Democratic Party officials are hoping to attract a full slate of hopefuls to run for every statewide office if Davis is a candidate for governor. With the senator riding high on her international fame after filibustering an abortion bill, the party hopes to attract some big-time names and even bigger money to help with her campaign.

Among the Democratic names being mentioned for lieutenant governor against incumbent David Dewhurst are state Sens. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio and Royce West of Dallas or state Rep. Rafael Anchia of Dallas. Van de Putte also won acclaim from women and liberal circles as she joined with Davis in challenging Republicans over the abortion issue.

None of those officeholders is expected to make any announcements until after Davis has made her intentions known.

That same dilemma faces some would-be candidates on the local level, especially in the race for Davis’ Senate District 10, the campaign for Tarrant County district attorney and several judgeships.

Although District Attorney Joe Shannon has not said whether he will seek re-election, he has drawn three potential challengers: defense attorneys Wes Ball and George Mackey, and former District Judge Bob Gill, who retired from the bench in 2007 after five terms and rejoined the DA’s office.

Shannon, 72, won election to the post in 2010 after being appointed in 2009 following the death of longtime District Attorney Tim Curry. Whether or not the district attorney decides to run for re-election, you can bet there will be other challengers in the race.

In the courthouse, several long-serving district and appeals judges have plans to switch and run for county courts, meaning they would collect state retirement benefits along with another government check should they win. That will open the door for a lot more lawyers to throw their hats in the judicial ring.

Prospective candidates still have a couple of months to decide. The filing period begins Nov. 9 and is scheduled to end Dec. 9.

Because there is ongoing litigation over the state’s redistricting maps, there’s always the possibility that the filing deadline could be extended.

Regardless what happens — who’s in or who’s out — this Tarrant County election season promises to be one for the books.

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