June 13, 2019

Royce West ain't running against John Cornyn (new updates)

A week ago, it was reported that Royce West continues to "do his due diligence" about running in the Dem primary to face John Cornyn.

Reality? Royce is taking about as long to shit or get off the pot on this decision as Joaquin Castro, and having lived in his state senate district most the previous decade, I say he'll probably get off the pot.

Update, July 10: The fact that Gromer Jeffers is breathlessly announcing today that Royce will have some announcement on July 22 (scribblings uncritically passed on by Kuff) only increases my guess that he is either
A. Not running
B. Will suck in the race if he does run.

First, he likes his little south Dallas barony that being a part time legiscritter allows.

Second, he took a pass at challenging Cornyn on a previous cycle. He also took a pass on running for Dallas County DA in the year that Craig Watkins won. This is probably in part related to No. 1, and in part related to other things. Related to that? He and former Houston black state senate peer Rodney Ellis both have taken powders in the past on other statewide runs. Royce has done this enough, though, unlike Joaquin, with less public deliberation, that he's kind of the Hamlet of south Dallas politics.

And point the third?

He's got too much of a black eye potential from old Dallas Inland Port shenanigans, as both I and Jim Schutze know. He also was MIA on some south Dallas development issues next to his beloved UNT-Dallas. And, the inland port issues would raise his connections with John Wiley Price. Read everything with my Royce West tag for more.

Gromer Jeffers thinks he will run, but with recent retirements and buyouts at the Snooze, Gromer's mug is next to the definition of "conventional wisdom" in the Dallas political encyclopedia.

In addition, Gromer, who maybe is auditioning to be Royce's campaign press spox, in both that link immediately above and the one up top, can't see his way to mentioning the name of Sema Hernandez, the first Democrat to file to run.

And, given that the older link is almost a month old, it will be more than a month between the "thinks he will run" and that July 22 announcement, if he does run.

The only office he might run for other than his current one is Eddie Bernice Johnson's Congressional seat, if she ever decides to step down. It would let him run in an area roughly the same as his current state senate seat and thus pretty much avoid the baggage issues.

Given that she is 83, really, this needs to have already happened, you know? But, like many other a Congresscritter, she hasn't made it happen.

Stephen Young thinks Eric Johnson is next in line for that seat, but I disagree. If PB&J refuses to retire, in 2022 or later, he may be next in line, but not right now.

As for how well Royce would do in a primary? Contra a commenter at Kuff's site talking about him "holding his own" in the Valley, there is no "holding his own" there. With Sema Hernandez in the race plus Adrian Ocegueda as a definite vanidad candidate, West — and others who aren't Hispanic — are fighting over a fairy small bag of bones, and West isn't well known in the Valley.

Plus, there's already an African-American candidate in the race. And, while Michael Cooper may be relatively unknown, he's already run a state race, losing the 2018 primary for Lite Guv.

That said, other than possibly Cooper, none of the candidates float my boat and Royce wouldn't either. Sema sold her "progressive" soul for a mess of Beto endorsement pottage. M.J. Hegar? Too ConservaDem, starting with the military.


This all said, back to Royce's baggage.

Yeah, most of it is more than a decade old. But, you know Cornyn would bring it up in the general election, along with West's apparent continuing ties to John Wylie Price. That's why he took a pass in 2014. And, if he does run in 2020, it will be on a gamble that his baggage is enough further away that he can avoid it.

But can he? After all, JWP went on federal trial just over two years ago. He beat the rap, tis true, but prosecutorial ineptitude was one factor. And even fellow Dems like former Dallas County Judge Jim Foster say that Price and West are "joined at the hip." That Snooze piece (you didn't deal with it, Gromer) mentioned other past conflicts of interest that Royce has had. Shit, the toothless Texas Ethics Commission fined him in 2010. And I haven't even mention West's ties to convicted Dallas County constable Derick Evans, who also had other ethics issues beyond what got him convicted.

And, if a Sema Hernandez is a good-government progressive, or if GOP-lite ethics cop Chris Bell jumps in, there's a chance it becomes an issue already in the primary.

A House race in a safe district avoids all of that. If PB&J steps aside before Royce gets close to aging out himself.

And, to a lesser degree, ties to Our Man Downtown is why Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins won't run.


Update, June 24: The Trib reports West met with Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. He'll reportedly make a decision next month. TOTALLY contra Kuff, I'd vote for about anyone else in the primary (Sema, with her own issues, being No. 1), and anybody the Greens may nominate that's above total road kill in the general.

The only way he has a chance of getting my vote in a primary is coming TOTALLY clean on the baggage issues above.


If I'm right about him not running for the nomination to try to defeat Big John, and also right that he, not Eric Johnson, is currently first in line for Eddie Bernice's seat, how long does he hold the No. 1 ticket there?

Through 2024 is my answer.

He can run in 2020 and not worry about his state Senate seat, which comes up in 2022. Depending on what seats get their post-redistricting two year term right away and which ones wait, he then comes up in 2024 or 2026.

Well, if it is 2024 and EBJ retires, he's running for her seat anyway. By then, he's over 70. Maybe he can hold on until 2026, if she also holds on until that long. But, after that, he's not just 70-plus, he's 75-plus. Replacing, or trying to replace, a near-90, at that point, EBJ with a 75-or-older Royce ain't good optics.

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