Monday, December 15, 2008
Who's The Dem In 2010 Governor Race ?
I know it may seem a bit early to some of you to be talking about the 2010 elections, but for us political junkies it's never too early. The race for Texas governor is already taking shape for the Republican Party. Rick Perry will be seeking another term as governor, even though he received less than 40% of the vote in 2006. His main opponent will be Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who has already as good as tossed her hat into the ring.
Both of them are strong candidates. Right now I give the edge to Senator Hutchison, but either one could win what will be a knock-down drag-out fight for the Republican nomination. At the end of the primary race, there may be a lot of unhappy Republicans no matter who wins. But do the Democrats have a candidate who can take advantage of that?
To tell the truth, the pickings are pretty slim. For a while, the names of former Comptroller John Sharp and Houston Mayor Bill White were being tossed around as possible candidates. But in the last couple of weeks, both of them have declared their candidacy for the senate seat Hutchison will be vacating. It looks like both of them think they have a better chance of winning that than beating Hutchison or Perry in the governor's race.
There are some good Democrats who are popular in their own little corner of our huge state, but none of them have the financial support or name-recognition to run a state-wide campaign. I can see only one candidate willing to run on the Democratic ticket who could give the Republicans a run for their money.
That candidate is singer, comic and gonzo-politician Kinky Friedman. I know the thought of Kinky running as a Democrat will upset many of my brothers and sisters in the Texas Progressive Alliance, because they fought him tooth-and-nail in the 2006 election when he ran as an independent. Some of them are convinced he siphoned off enough Democratic votes to cost Chris Bell the election.
I don't agree with that assessment. Bell could not have won that election even if Kinky had not been in the race. The truth is that Kinky siphoned off a lot more Republican votes than Democratic votes.
Kinky has state-wide name recognition, and a solid base of voters from both parties who are willing to back him financially and at the polls. I think he could win the primary, and if the Democratic Party got behind him then, he could pull down enough Republican votes to make the election very close. He might even win.
I'm not asking anyone to jump on the Kinky bandwagon today -- just keep an open mind and see how things develop. He could turn out to be the Democrats best chance.
By the way, the above picture is of Kinky and me during the 2006 campaign.