Vol 30, Issue 27 Print Issue

Gov. Rick Perry in San Antonio on July 8, 2013, announcing that he will not seek re-election.
Gov. Rick Perry in San Antonio on July 8, 2013, announcing that he will not seek re-election.

Finally, a Political Starting Gun

The Legislature has overstayed its time in Austin and the governor delayed his announcement. But the first is almost over and the governor has done his thing: It's time for politics.

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

Gov. Rick Perry announced Monday that he will not run for re-election next year, creating the first open race for Texas governor since 1990 and making Attorney General Greg Abbott the instant favorite to replace him. Perry’s exit from the statewide stage after nearly a quarter century doesn’t necessarily end his political ambition. He has said previously that he would make his decision about a White House bid before the end of this year; Perry made a brief and oblique mention of another run for national office. Abbott will officially announce his plans on Sunday in San Antonio, followed by a multi-city swing through the state next week.

Tom Pauken, the former Texas Republican Party chairman, is betting his fellow conservatives want a change of direction after a dozen years of Perry and what he says would be "more of the same" from Abbott. First, he will have to get people’s attention.

The governor set Nov. 5 as the date for the special election to determine who will serve out the remainder of state Rep. Mark Strama's current term. Early hopefuls include businesswoman Jade Chang Sheppard, associate municipal court judge Ramey Ko, prosecutor Rico Reyes and Celia Israel, a former aide to Gov. Ann Richards.

Opponents of the new abortion regulations working their way through the Texas Legislature have said the measures will face immediate legal challenges. But defenders of the legislation are welcoming the opportunity to take their case to court.

Political People and their Moves

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn hired Brendan Steinhauser to run his reelection campaign, choosing the former FreedomWorks op to help him navigate through a party that has imbibed a lot of Tea since Cornyn was last on the ballot in 2008. Steinhauser worked on campaigns for Marco Rubio, Mike Lee and Pat Toomey and has most recently been working for the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

As expected, state Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville, is prepping for a run for state comptroller, telling the full House this week that this will be his last session as a member of that body. He is one of several Republicans hoping to replace Comptroller Susan Combs, who isn’t seeking another term. He’ll make an official announcement of his plans “in the coming weeks.” 

Dallas Republican Linda Koop will run for the Texas House in HD-102, a seat Stefani Carter is giving up to run for Railroad Commissioner. Koop is a former member of the Dallas city council.

State Rep. Linda Harper Brown, R-Irving, will seek reelection next year, setting up a primary fight between her and former state Rep. Rodney Anderson, R-Grand Prairie.

Dr. Raymond Greenberg will be the new executive vice chancellor for health affairs at the University of Texas System, replacing Dr. Ken Shine. Greenberg has headed the Medical University of South Carolina for the last 13 years.

The University of Texas at Austin is naming its new Latin American Law Center for former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison