Who is running for what?

Thursday, June 20, 2013
posted by elizabeth @ 3:57 PM

Governor Rick Perry will make his plans known by July 1st

Comptroller Susan Combs announced a few weeks ago that she would not seek reelection or any other statewide office in 2014, effectively knocking over the first domino in the mad dash of politicians making their 2014 intentions known. Right after her announcement and the end of the regular session, several candidates reaffirmed the office they plan to seek, announced for a new office, or let us know that they are still thinking about it.

A Democrat has not won statewide office in Texas since 1994, and 2014 will most likely see those offices decided in the republican primary, so we will focus on those races. Here is a breakdown of who has either committed to or has been rumored to be thinking some of the state’s top jobs. Although this is all likely to, and will most definitely change.


  • Governor Rick Perry has said he will make his intentions known by July 1st. This is the domino that will impact just about every other domino.
  • Attorney General Greg Abbott is furiously ramping up his campaign operation and seems ready to jump in for governor if and when Perry announces his decision. Not to mention the fact he already has over $18 million on hand.
  • Former Workforce Commissioner and State GOP Chairman Tom Pauken has already thrown his hat into the ring for the state’s top job.

Attorney General

  • Rep. Dan Branch (Dallas), Chairman of the House Higher Education Committee, wanted to run for A.G. back in 2010 and will most likely make a run at it again in 2014 – as long as Greg Abbott moves on to run for Governor.
  • Barry Smitherman, Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission, has been rumored to be taking a hard look at the AG position, which would then open up a slot on the Railroad Commission.
  • State Senator Ken Paxton is thought to be thinking about Attorney General, which could create an interesting DFW battle between himself and Branch.
  • Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Harriet O’Neill has also been mentioned in the race.

Lieutenant Governor

  • Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has said he plans to run for reelection and would have the obvious cash advantage in the race. But then again, he had the cash advantage in the U.S. Senate race also…
  • Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples reaffirmed his plans to run for Lt. Gov and is busy raising money for the race.
  • Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson has also made it known he is “in it to win it” and is actively campaigning for the office.
  • State Senator Dan Patrick (Houston) is thought to be mulling a run for Lt. Gov, which would make for an exciting and unpredictable race full of candidates with many of the same dedicated followers (and contributors).


  • State Senator Glenn Hegar (Katy) is widely known to be planning to run for Comptroller in 2014.
  • House Ways & Means Chairman Harvey Hilderbran (Kerrville) has not officially announced, but many expect that announcement to come soon.
  • Former GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Debra Medina has already launched her campaign.
  • Former Speaker Tom Craddick has been mentioned for the job, although there have been no announcements from him or his office.
  • Senate Finance Chairman Tommy Williams is said to be launching an exploratory committee to take a look at the open Comptroller’s job.
  • Former State Rep. Raul Torres (Corpus Christi) is considering a run for Comptroller.

Agriculture Commissioner

  • House Republican Caucus Chairman Brandon Creighton is thinking about a run for the office
  • Former Rep. Tommy Merritt from Longview, who was defeated by Rep. David Simpson in 2010, is said to be considering the Ag Commissioner job.

The only statewide elected office with only one candidate? The General Land Office. The candidate? George P. Bush. It does not appear anyone is willing at this point to challenge that name on a ballot in Texas – or the fundraising operation that comes with it.

Term limits could end up playing a role in some lawmakers’ decisions. For Hegar and Williams, they are free to run for Comptroller in 2014 without risking their senate seats. However, Dan Patrick, Todd Staples, Jerry Patterson and the handful of House members looking at statewide office will have to give up their current seats to run.

It will be an interesting next few months to say the least. There could be a number of open seats and possibly chairmanships available in the House depending on what happens.

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