Sunday, January 20, 2013

Goings-on for Political Junkies

For many years Texas was a one-party state.  Although statewide officeholders ascribed to being members of the Democratic Party, there were two definite factions of the Party.  There were historic fights between conservative Democrats and the faction which called themselves loyal Democrats.  The largest split came between factions led by Lyndon Johnson and the old loyalist Allan Shivers.  It was said things were so good with Democrats that they needed someone to fight with so they decided to fight with themselves.

There are definite signs that since Texas has become basically a one-party state with Republicans holding all statewide offices and a majority of the Legislature that there are signs of trouble in paradise.

It appears Rick Perry, after having made such a poor showing in his short-lived attempt to run for president, has lost a good deal of his luster among his fellow Republicans.  Some Republicans have decided they have been “waiting in the wings” long enough, indicating there will be a real inner-party squabble during the next election cycle.

It is not a well-kept secret around the Capitol that Attorney General Abbott has let the insiders know he intends to run for governor no matter what other candidate may appear on the ballot–including the current occupant of that office.  Abbott is obviously “feeling his oats” in view of the fact that recent fund-raising efforts have raised him about 4.5 million, on top of the 18 million he has in the bank.  This compares more than favorably with Rick Perry’s recent fund-raising efforts which raised less than 4 million; and unlike earlier times, Perry has only 6 million on hand in his re-election account.

There are other signs that even Republicans are getting somewhat disenchanted with Rick Perry and his long tenure as governor.  Recently, members of the Legislature expressed serious doubts about Perry’s largesse through grants to various funds intended to spike economic growth in Texas.  Even some Republicans are questioning the fact that several million dollars were allocated to friends of Perry who have been donors to his election efforts in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A couple of freshman representatives have introduced bills which would bring more transparency to the governor's efforts and another has introduced a bill to prohibit him from double-dipping, drawing both his salary as governor and his retirement benefits as a past member of the Legislature. 

There are other contests already visible on the horizon.  Land Commissioner Patterson and State Comptroller Combs have both announced their intention to seek the office of Lt. Governor; along with Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples.  All have million-dollar plus war chests already raised and all believe that they are the leading candidate for such office.  In addition to these announced ambitions, it appears Lt. Governor Dewhurst is not ready to give up the ghost, even after his poor showing against Senator Cruz in the recent primary election.  All of the intramural squabbles among Republicans should make for interesting days for those of us political junkies who enjoy watching such goings-on.  Stay tuned.

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