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Tuesday, January 3, 2006
Down Texas Way…
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:27 am

Via the Houston Chronicle: Strayhorn enters governor’s race as independent

Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn ended speculation today by announcing she will run for governor against Gov. Rick Perry as an independent.

[…]

To get on the ballot as an independent, Strayhorn will need to collect the signatures of 45,450 registered voters who cast ballots in neither party primary or runoff. The signatures will have to be collected between March 8 and May 11.

Interesting. I keep half an eye on Texas politics, but not having been in the thick it of it for almost eight years, it is hard to have a feel for things. Clearly if Strayhorn thought she could best Perry in the primary, she would have gone that route, so this may well be a desperation play. However, given the state of the Democratic Party of Texas at the gubernatorial level, this may have been a shrewd move.

Here are the numbers (via the Texas SOS):

2002:

Perry (R): 57.8%
Mauro (D): 39.96%

1998:

Bush (R): 68.23%
Mauro (D): 31.18%

The shift to Republican dominance for the governor’s office started in 1994:

Richard (D): 45.87%
Bush (R): 53.47%

Those numbers aren’t as dramatic as those from 2002 and 1998, but Richards was the incumbent, and at the time Bush was only the second Republican to win the office since Reconstruction (although it should be noted that the first Republican, Bill Clements, did win two non-contiguous terms in 1978 and 1986). Further, there was a massive shift towards the Republican Party at the state level during the 1994-2002 period.

At any rate, if the Democratic candidates are of the same political prowess as Sanchez and Mauro, then Strayhorn (who was once a Democrat) might actually be able to carve out an electoral space in this election. I don’t have enough data to put odds on it, but it would appear to be at least possible.

Looking at the two Democrats listed as the major possible candidates, one gets the feeling that they aren’t heavyweights:

The major candidates in the Democratic primary are Chris Bell of Houston, a former congressman, and Bob Gammage, a former Houston congressman and Texas Supreme Court justice who now lives in Llano.

Neither of those brief bios suggests a powerful base upon which to start a race (although it is quite nice out in Llano).

I find this interesting because, on balance, independent candidacies usually are losers from the the get-go. As such, a candidate such as Strayhorn who might have an outside chance of winning is quite intriguing.

Update: James Joyner comments as well.

2 Comments »

  1. […] #8217;s Race
    By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:20 am

    Here’s some more info to go with my post on the Texas governor’s race from earlier today: The latest numbers from the SurveyUSA - 5 […]

    Pingback by PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » More on the Texas Governor’s Race — Tuesday, January 3, 2006 @ 9:20 am

  2. Scott McClellan’s Mom Runs for Texas Governor

    Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, the mother of White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, is running for Texas governor as an independent.

    The AP presents this as a stunning break in the GOP.

    Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn …

    Trackback by Outside The Beltway — Tuesday, January 3, 2006 @ 10:03 am

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