Updated: Apr 11, 2022
Ross Ramsey Retires - Longtime respected independent political analyst and managing editor of the Texas Tribune, Ross Ramsey, has announced his retirement. Ramsey has long been one of the most respected non partisan political journalist and analysts in the state.
Unknown Sarah Stogner Steals a March - The Republican Railroad Commission Race heated up in recent weeks, as West Texas oil & gas attorney Sarah Stogner launched a racy web ad campaign that went viral, costing her the San Antonio News Express endorsement, but picking up significant (and largely positive) press on her issues. She was not expected to mount a serious challenge to incumbent Wayne Christian (who does not have significant oil & gas experience, long a problem on the RRC), and no public polls of this race are out. But ethics is a major issue for Texas voters this cycle per the Texas Tribune polls, and we can add RRC to the list Texas Republican statewide Races including Attorney General (George P Bush challenging Ken Paxton who has hung on though long facing well publicized ethics and legal challenges), and Ag Commissioner (recent media reports that larger than life Ag Commissioner Sid Miller faces primary challengers on ethics issues). Miller declined the opportunity to challenge Greg Abbott for Governor after party insiders Allen West and Don Huffines launched challenges. This looks like the right decision for Stephenville based Miller who is an experienced campaigner, as the Tribune polls have the well funded Abbott outpacing West and Huffines' combined polling by two to one.
New SAM Party Steals Talent - Highly regarded and popular Independent Bill King, former Mayor of Kemah, who ran close races for Houston Mayor as an independent, has formally aligned with a party as Texas State Chair for the launch of the new center focused SAM Party. SAM Party is expected to mount a petition drive for ballot access in Texas for the 2024 cycle, and have recruited a number of experienced campaigners on the leadership team, including former Democratic Congressman and Houston City Council Member and Democratic Nominee for Governor Chris Bell, former HISD Board Chair Paula Arnold, and former San Antonio City Council Member Reed Williams. Texas Free Press expects this group be capable of putting together the resources for a successful ballot access petition drive, which could put a third third party on Texas ballot in 2024 for the first time ever, behind the Libertarian Party, which has maintained ballot access for decades, and the smaller Green Party.
Libertarian Party People Defections - The Libertarian Party of Texas, which has played spoiler in a number of down ballot races in recent cycles, suffered major losses this year. 2014 and 2016 Railroad Commission Nominee Mark Miller, who ran the most successful Libertarian statewide campaign in recent memory securing ballot access for the party in a hard fought race in 2016, has joined the SAM Party as Hays County Chair, and Tom Glass, a longtime party leader and the husband and campaign manager of two time Libertarian Governor Nominee Kathie Glass is mounting an aggressive grassroots challenge for the Republican nomination for the open HD 17 seat. Miller is not running for office this cycle, and no polls are out on the heavily contested HD 17 race, but Glass (a Texas Free Press columnist prior to launching his campaign) has picked up a number of conservative endorsements.
Texas Comptroller's is Race More Interesting than Usual. While Republican Glenn Hegar is not expected to face serious challenge in either the primary or general election, and sitting on $2 mm in cash, he is likely to face two opponents in the general election who are both arguably as or more qualified for the job than he is, and all with Brazos Valley ties. Heck, they probably all have eaten at Freebirds in College Station. How many races can you say that of? Hegar is an attorney, graduated from Texas A&M, who served in the Texas Senate before winning the job as Chief Financial Officer of Texas. The Democrat frontrunner (though with limited polling, front runner may a stretch) Janet Dudding of Bryan, is a CPA and MBA with the endorsement of the Houston Chronicle for the Democratic Primary and worked for the Office of the State Auditor as well as Assistant CFO of the City of College Station, as well as had worked for Texas A&M. The Libertarian Party nomination is expected to go to Alonzo Echavarria-Garza at the April statewide convention, who is running unopposed. Echavarria-Garza is also an accountant and former government auditor, and experienced public finance manager. He also lives in Bryan-College Station, and is the CFO and interim City Manager of nearby Hearne, Texas, was formerly the CFO of Port Isabel, Tx and Assistant CFO of the City of Big Spring, Tx (which just so happens to have gotten a Libertarian Mayor after he left, the largest city in Texas run by a Libertarian). Libertarians have historically done well in the Comptroller's Race. There is no Green Party candidate in this race.