With his announcement Monday that he will seek the Republican nomination to succeed retiring Texas Gov. Rick Perry, state Attorney General Greg Abbott is already the favorite for the GOP nomination and election in 2014.
Sporting an eight-figure campaign kitty, the chief law enforcement officer of the Lone Star State is a favorite of both cultural and fiscal conservatives. Abbott argued the state's case for posting the Ten Commandments in public buildings, and joined with other attorneys general from states in filing a lawsuit against the constitutionality of Obamacare.
"I will never give up fighting for freedom," Abbott told cheering supporters in San Antonio Monday, referring to the Obamacare challenge and 24 other suits he has launched against the administration.
"The nomination is Attorney General Abbott's," Austin Republican activist Reid Rousselot told Newsmax without hesitation. "Former Republican State Chairman and former Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Paulken is also running in the primary. Although Paulken has been a strong conservative voice in Texas for years, the nomination belongs to Greg Abbott."
Crippled since age 26 when a tree fell on him while jogging, Abbott would be the first person to be elected governor in any state while publicly in a wheelchair. Franklin Roosevelt's use of a wheelchair was little known when he was elected governor of New York in 1928 and Alabama's George Wallace was already governor when paralyzed by an assassin's bullet in 1972.
Since Perry announced his retirement just over a week ago, there has been considerable speculation about Democrats making a spirited effort to win the governorship they last won in 1990 with the late Ann Richards.
However, while the state's Hispanic population is growing and changing demographics are likely to help Democrats down the road, there is also a growing realization that 2014 is too soon for such a sea change.
State Sen. Wendy Davis has been widely talked about for governor or another statewide office after her recent filibuster against a controversial pro-life measure backed by Perry.
But Perry himself may have said it best when he told reporters: "She is a very, very capable smart individual, and I think her very smart capable mind will tell her that 2014 is a political hill that is very hard for a Democrat to climb. Not her or anybody else."
If Davis, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro or any Democrat "up and comers" make the plunge in 2014, it is more likely to be for one of the lower statewide offices in which there are sure to be heated and potentially fractious Republican primaries — lieutenant governor, attorney general, or agriculture commissioner.
For now, the governorship looks pretty good for the Republican who announced on Monday.
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