Now that Greg Abbott has officially announced for governor (preceded, officially, by Tom Pauken, and hinted at by Dan Patrick) what's next for Texas' lieutenant governor?
Is he really in a place where, as I said a week ago, he's in danger of becoming the Thomas Dewey of the modern Texas GOP?
I say that answer is likely still a yes.
There's several reasons.
The most obvious one is Ted Cruz handing his hat to him a year ago. That's a tough loss to someone who was a relative unknown outside Tea Partiers 18 months ago, even among more active Texas Republicans.
That's followed by how he handled Wendy Davis in the first special session. I actually don't think he totally blew it. However, the Tea Party types might look at his bluster and think he's all talk and no show. It will hurt him more in a GOP primary, most likely, than Davis filibuster will help her in a general election.
That said, what primary will Dudley Dewless be in next year (if any)?
Back for another round of lieutenant governor?
There's a couple of problems there.
First, Rick Perry partially negated the "Texas has a weak governor" claim. Based on what I know about state-level politics, at least from big states, I think Texas' governor's powers would rank below Florida, at least under current officeholder Rick Scott, but might rank about equal with California, at least under current officeholder Jerry Brown.
And, you can rest assured that a Gov. Greg Abbott, the man who's been the legal whip for most of Tricky Ricky Perry's anti-Obama stances, isn't going to let the governor's mansion get any weaker.
So why, after 12 years of seeing power slip out of his grasp as Lite Guv, would Dewhurst stay in that position?
And, related to that, this is kind of like Ike asked about Nixon in 1960: Even by GOP definitions, it would probably take a week for anybody inside the party to talk about anything significant that Dewhurst has done.
Yeah, I know, he's officially announced for re-election. But why?
Maybe he doesn't have further political ambition. But, if Abbott wins, even more than now, he's stuck in a dead-end office. And, that's assuming he can win out over both Todd Staples, Dan Patrick and Jerry Patterson, which I don't think he can. On name recognition, he'll probably finish first in the first round, but I don't see him winning the runoff against either Staples or Patterson. (What Patrick's doing in there, I don't know; the initial understanding I had that he was running for Guv actually makes more sense, relatively speaking.)
Beyond that, Patrick has some 'splaining to do to pro-lifers, as he until recently owned stock in a company
that makes the Plan B "morning after pill." (His explanation of this is
usual political boilerplate, and will only lead the far right to
further scrutinize other investments of his.)
And, as of the end of July, Dewhurst's re-election piggy bank is light, as he badly trails Staples in fundraising and is only even with Patterson.
So, if he Dewless does have further political ambition, there's only two options.
One is challenge Abbott, in a race that will likely result in at least as crushing of a loss as he had to Cruz.
The other is to challenge John Cornyn for his Senate seat. Cornyn's already trying to shore up Tea Party support by hiring Brendan Steinhauser, who has connections to Cruz in particular and the organized Tea Party movement in general, as his campaign manager. It would be tough gear-shifting, but doable, and probably with better odds than an Abbott challenge.
Or, befitting himself, he could find a "safe" Republican-leaning Houston area House seat, with the redistricting, and run for it.
Or he could shock the hell out of us and become Texas' Charlie Crist.
Meanwhile, a lying sack of shit is lying about sacks of shit allegedly brought into the Capitol during the second special session by pro-choice protestors.
Look, Dudley, even DPS chief Steve McCraw left semi-sized loopholes for himself. That includes the word "suspected," no discussion of IF the jars were inspected, let alone troopers sniffing away, and more.
And Charles Kuffner rounds up the talk about the idea of Wendy Davis running for Lite Guv on the D side, which makes a lot of sense.