The Inescapable A-Word in the Texas Governor's Race

At separate events, Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, filed for governor in Austin, Texas on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013.
At separate events, Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, filed for governor in Austin, Texas on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013.

As state Sen. Wendy Davis and Attorney General Greg Abbott gear up for the 2014 gubernatorial election, both candidates’ campaigns have made a tactical choice to mostly avoid the A-word — even in the midst of heated legal challenges that reached all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a yearlong race where initial polling shows less than a 10-point spread, neither campaign has reason to touch a divisive issue such as abortion, not even with a 10-foot pole. Still, it’s unlikely either candidate will be able to escape the issue entirely, as both play a dominant role in the narrative surrounding Texas’ strict new abortion regulations.

Davis became a standout potential gubernatorial nominee for the Democrats after her 11-hour filibuster of the strict abortion regulations propelled her into a national spotlight. But the subsequent passage of those regulations, which took effect in November, has also been a boon to the Republican Party. Now, how the impact of the abortion regulations is framed could impact both candidates’ chances of becoming the state’s next leader.

“Because it’s very divisive, it’s hard for the candidates in a general election to talk about the issue without knowing they’re likely going to be losing some votes,” said Jim Henson, co-director of the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

While a majority of Texans support strict regulation of abortion procedures, according to the UT/TT Poll, only 12 percent believe it should never be allowed in any circumstance, and 36 percent believe it should always be allowed as a matter of personal choice.

“As long as the issue is framed in terms of regulations on the procedure, things like 24-hour waiting periods, even late-term restrictions, the public is tolerant of that,” Henson said. “But the moment you begin talking about fundamentally blocking access to abortion as a health service or you begin talking about availability, public opinion turns the other way.”

In other words, if the issue of clinic closures and access to health services drives the conversation, Davis’ campaign will be in the driver’s seat. Even after the Supreme Court decided 5-4 on Tuesday to allow the state’s strict abortion regulations to remain in effect, Davis released a statement that avoided the word "abortion" altogether: "Clinics will close and women's health will be hurt because of this law."

But if the Republican narrative of improving women’s safety through reasonable regulation prevails, the issue will play to Abbott’s advantage.

“I don’t think it’s in either of the campaign’s best interest for this issue to take center stage, but I don’t see this issue ever leaving the stage,” said Jason Stanford, a Democratic consultant.

Democrats hope that Davis’ filibuster roused enough attention to mobilize people to the polls who traditionally don’t vote, such as millenials and single women, and attract suburban women who are already turning away from the Republican Party. But the Davis campaign has shied away from speaking on the issue directly in an effort to broaden the public’s perception of her as a candidate. In her campaign narrative, abortion has been quietly wrapped into charges of systemic problems with Texans’ access to health care, education and economic opportunity created under Republican leadership.

“It strikes me that Wendy Davis is certainly trying to abandon or distance herself from the position that made her famous,” said Jordan Berry, a Republican consultant. “They clearly are making that as a strategic move and deliberately doing that, which leads me to believe she may realize that position is viewed as extreme.”

Although Berry pointed to the common mantra “if your opponent doesn’t want to talk about an issue, you probably do,” Abbott’s campaign doesn’t seem to be taking that tack. And for good reason.

While Davis’ well-known stance on abortion could galvanize nonvoters and moderate women, it’s also likely to isolate her from traditional Republican voters without much work on Abbott's part. Meanwhile, Abbott’s lesser-known role in the legal wrangling around the new laws could also play to his advantage in attracting moderate voters. Although Abbott will face Tom Pauken, former chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission, in the Republican primary, the race is not competitive enough to force him to take a hard stand against abortion to mobilize the GOP base. And if Abbott strongly aligned himself with anti-abortion advocates who oppose legal exceptions for rape, incest and the life or health of the mother during the primary season, he could alienate moderate voters, said Henson. If Abbott’s campaign calls attention to Davis’ record on abortion, Henson said that would mean "they’re sensing the election is closer than they want.”

It’s more likely that a “wild card,” such as an unfortunate tweet from either of the candidates’ allies, could raise the issue, putting one of the candidates in an awkward position, Henson said. Already, Abbott has come under fire for seemingly endorsing a supporter’s “abortion Barbie” name-calling on Twitter. While Republicans seek to bury that incident, Democrats are repeatedly highlighting it as an example of persistent sexism within the GOP.

“What Susan Combs said is brilliant,” Stanford said of the state comptroller’s recent remarks that “it is not all south of the waistline” and that Republicans should broaden their messaging on women’s issues. “If the Republican Party can’t keep Susan Combs in line, they’ve got real problems with Republican women who don’t have to talk to the press,” added Stanford.

Both Republicans and Democrats believe both campaigns will be about much more than abortion, even if neither candidate will be able to escape the issue entirely.

“Wendy Davis is a treasure trove of problems, and they have so many other things they can talk about that the public will find interesting,” said Berry, “even more so than a radical stance of an abortion.”

Dewhurst: In Front, and in a Real Pickle

The three Republicans running against Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst are, at the moment, running for second place — for a spot, they hope, in a May 27 runoff against a wounded incumbent.

The latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll had Dewhurst in the lead, at 26 percent, followed by state Sen. Dan Patrick at 13 percent, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson at 10 percent and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples in fourth at 5 percent. The margin of error on that question in the poll was +/- 5.02 percentage points.

A big number — 46 percent — said they haven’t thought about the race enough to have an opinion. If you blow that up, assigning the undecided votes in the same proportions as the decided ones, Dewhurst would be within spitting distance of what he needs to get out of the contest without a runoff.

The votes won’t necessarily break that way, but it points to the possibility — not a prediction, but a possibility — that Dewhurst could win the race without a runoff.

The runoff seems more likely, if only because there are four proven candidates in the race. That certainly seems to be the way the candidates are reading it; every forum and debate has the obligatory slaps at the incumbent followed by sniping between the challengers. Lately, that has been hottest and heaviest between Patrick and Staples.

And with Dewhurst leading the pack, in name ID and financially, the other three appear to be running for second place and the chance to do to Dewhurst in the lieutenant governor’s race what Ted Cruz did to him in last year’s primary runoff for the U.S. Senate (when he got 56.8 percent to Dewhurst’s 43.2 percent) after finishing second in the primary (getting 34.2 percent to Dewhurst’s 44.6 percent).

It’s obviously better for Dewhurst to win without a runoff — no incumbent wants to go two rounds in a referendum on the job he or she has been doing. And after his July 2012 experience, a runoff could result in a permanent twitch.

But if there is a runoff, who would be the most desirable challenger? Of the three, Patterson has so far (as of the last reports) raised more money than Patrick and has the oldest ties to the loudest, populist part of the GOP. Staples, conservative as he is, comes closest to being an establishment Republican, if only because he is not as Tea-stained as Patterson or Patrick. And Patrick vies with Staples for the social conservatives, but makes the establishment nervous.

Dewhurst, after losing his race to Cruz last year, ran toward Cruz’s supporters rather than running back to his own: He’s paying more heed to the populists than to the establishment. But he might be able to run back to those folks if he finds himself in a runoff.

Dewhurst’s vote count dropped from the primary to the runoff in 2012, while Cruz’s rose. Among other things, that’s an indication of how conservative those voters are; it would be hard for Dewhurst to run to the right of any of his potential runoff challengers, especially if they have serious financial or grassroots support, or both. If Republican voters are leaning back toward the establishment by then — and the partisans hoping for that seem to be doing so without a stitch of evidence — Dewhurst might look good in comparison.

There will be plenty of time to regroup after the first round, if there is no winner in the primary on March 4. The runoff is May 27 — 12 weeks later.

This Land Is Your Land. Now What?

George P. Bush
George P. Bush

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst did it, Garry Mauro tried and couldn’t, and now former state Sen. Jerry Patterson is trying.

The theory that being elected Texas land commissioner can serve as a launching pad toward higher profile and more powerful positions has gained traction again after George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the grandson and nephew to the 41st and 43rd presidents, respectively, decided to run for the position earlier this year.

That came after Patterson, who has been in that post since 2003, decided to challenge Dewhurst for presiding officer of the Texas Senate.

The only Democrat eyeing the post so far is former El Paso Mayor John Cook, who presided over that city’s council in its weak-mayor system from 2005 to 2013. But despite having eight years of experience in that post to Bush’s zero days in public office, Cook is considered an underdog for the statewide post.

Bush has already been called “47” in some circles because of his famous surname. His mother is Mexican, a plus in a state with a growing Hispanic population being heavily courted by the state’s GOP. And at 37, he has time to learn. He’s also particularly adept at raising money — he had more than $4 million as of last summer — and he’s a Navy veteran.

But Bush is content to not look too far ahead, according to people who know him and his politics.

“George P.’s commitment level to this particular office has been really complete and unwavering,” said GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak.

Analysts say the position isn’t as well-defined as agriculture commissioner or comptroller, whose responsibilities are better known. The land commissioner’s office manages revenue for public schools that is earned from the sale, lease or use of the state’s public lands; is charged with various environmental protections; and oversees a host of veterans’ affairs and energy issues.

It’s also less volatile. Polarizing issues like immigration, abortion and ethics aren’t common points of contention on the trail. That could allow Bush, should he win his current bid and decide to seek another office, to gain favor among moderate voters less focused on those red-meat issues. But Mackowiak said that’s not the reason Bush chose this race.

“He may be tagged as a young man in a hurry, but I am not concerned at all he has some grand or specific timeline,” he said.

That could also be due to timing. If the Republicans keep their stronghold on statewide offices, Mackowiak said, it’s unlikely an interparty battle would emerge in four — or possibly eight — years.

Richard D. Pineda, the associate director of the Sam Donaldson Center for Communication Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso, said Cook’s aspirations may be due, in part, to a desire to add to a legacy.

“I think what he wants to do is bigger position, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be statewide,” he said. “But I think that for somebody that has done what he’s done and for somebody at his age, I think you start to look for legacy projects and you look for things where your imprint is going to be much larger and something that people can point back to.”

Being from far West Texas, Pineda added, is a hurdle for Cook, who is also a veteran.

"His base of support is obviously El Paso County, and in El Paso County, you’re not going to get a lot of people who understand the significance of that role,” he said. “I think what all these things end up highlighting is the lack of El Paso’s political capital on the state landscape, and ultimately that to me is the issue.”

Newsreel: Candidates File, Perry on Tour, Abbott Policies

This week in the Texas Weekly Newsreel: Gubernatorial candidates make it official, Rick Perry has something to say about Ted Cruz and Chris Christie, and Greg Abbott starts laying out his policy positions.

Inside Intelligence: About the Public Universities...

The University of Texas at Austin is the best public university in the state, according to 80 percent of our insiders in politics and government. A strong majority — 72 percent — think it will still be the top dog 10 years from now.

Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University and the University of Houston got some votes, but UT remains the school to beat.

That said, a majority of the insiders said the Battle Royale between the University of Texas regents and the administration at UT-Austin affects the quality of the school and judging by their comments, they don’t mean that in a good way.

We also asked whether top-rated athletics programs mean a lot to the success of public universities. More than a third said sports are very important, and another 51 percent rated them “somewhat important.”

As always, we collected comments from the insiders along the way, and a full set is attached. A sampling follows:


What’s the top public university in Texas?

• "Is this a real question? We all know the answer to this one.... even the people who answer something other than UT Austin know the answer to this one!"

• "As a Longhorn it pains me to say that UT Austin currently still has the better brand, but A&M has been doing amazing things in recent years and it's not obvious which campus today has the most high quality programs."

• "While I earned both my undergraduate and graduate degrees from UT Austin in the 1970s, I believe Texas A&M University has surpassed UT in terms of academic excellence and the overall student experience."

• "UT is the top one. Assuming you still consider it public, what with the decrease in state funding and the pushback when public servants try to hold it accountable."

• "But don't forget - UT Austin is still only #52 among national universities; #16 among public universities (behind Berkeley, UCLA and four other California schools!)"

• "Picking Tech because someone had to make sure they got at least ONE vote. Guns up!"

• "As a transplant, the obsessive navel-gazing about UT and A&M amazes me. Texas has vast resources and could create multiple truly great universities. However, we have no vision and will not make the sacrifices necessary to create such a system."


What do you think will be the top public university in the state ten years from now?

• "Assuming that Texas citizens can purge the bad actors from the UT Regents, UT Austin will be able to make good use of its natural advantages and respond vigorously to the pace being set by the Aggies."

• "In 25 years, the top university will be 'something' else, with public universities unable to compete with private."

• "UT will always be better than A&M. Sorry Aggies. I assume someone was making a funny when they included Tech and U of H on this list."

• "The sleeping giant in this case is U of H. The University of Houston will continue to rise as long as Houston continues to be the energy capital of the world, and the US continues to strive for energy independence."

• "Hopefully, in ten years, we will have begun the process of dismantling all the state's over-priced but low-performing universities and be moving toward post high school education sources that better meet the needs of students, communities and the job market. These universities are dinosaurs.”

• "If you're located in College Station, that's a deal breaker on being the top university. Otherwise the Aggies are doing everything right and UT could learn quite a bit by following John Sharp's example of leadership and management."


Do you think the tension between UT’s regents and UT-Austin’s administration has any effect on the quality of the school?

• "Does the tension between the Tea Party and the Business Republicans effect the quality of the Republican Party? Turds in the punch bowl always play a part in quality."

• "Hard to keep good professors and top admin if there is this much fighting."

• "It is impossible for the friction not to impact faculty recruiting."

• "BUT it's not a one way street as many in the media think. UT is not as efficient or as excellent as it thinks it is. A little more hunger, knowing it needs to stretch to a higher bar wouldn't hurt. The regents aren't all wrong here."

• "The political atmosphere at UT has forced the alumni to take sides. Professors are more concerned about keeping their jobs instead of teaching. Political wars at higher learning institutions always end up hurting the student body and the reputation of the university."

• "Tough to know now whether it will effect quality; however, the headlines and committee hearings certainly won't help in recruiting the most talented professors and researchers."

• "Anytime they are feuding inside, means they are not working together to make UT great."


How important are top-rated athletic programs to the success of public universities?

• "You cannot dismiss the impact of athletics on a college campus. Is it the most important thing? No. But it does play a role I the overall campus demographics and environment."

• "Nothing brings more positive attention to school than a good athletic program."

• "The athletic programs help give the schools national attention, which is a good thing. And for UT, they also provide money to the school, which is also a good thing. For those schools that can't break even on athletics or don't field winning teams...sorry guys."

• "Duke, Gonzaga and others have benefited from the publicity around their basketball teams. But a public university has a captive pool of applicants, so should limit the priority given big-dollar athletics."

• "Given the diminishing amount of state funding for state universities, private fundraising is key to maintaining the quality of public universities. A top rated athletic program enhances fundraising."

• "Success is largely dependent on two variables - (1) Can you attract students - and athletics helps, tremendously. (2) Can you keep you alums happy and involved - and athletics helps, tremendously."

• "Important, but A&M needs a defense!"

Our thanks to this week’s participants: Gene Acuna, Brandon Aghamalian, Jenny Aghamalian, Victor Alcorta, Clyde Alexander, George Allen, Jay Arnold, Louis Bacarisse, Charles Bailey, Dave Beckwith, Andrew Biar, Allen Blakemore, Tom Blanton, Chris Britton, Blaine Bull, Lydia Camarillo, Kerry Cammack, Marc Campos, Thure Cannon, Snapper Carr, Corbin Casteel, Elizabeth Christian, Elna Christopher, John Colyandro, Harold Cook, Kevin Cooper, Beth Cubriel, Randy Cubriel, Denise Davis, Hector De Leon, Eva De Luna-Castro, June Deadrick, Nora Del Bosque, Holly DeShields, Tom Duffy, David Dunn, Richard Dyer, Jeff Eller, Jack Erskine, Jon Fisher, Wil Galloway, Neftali Garcia, Norman Garza, Dominic Giarratani, Stephanie Gibson, Eric Glenn, Jim Grace, John Greytok, Clint Hackney, Anthony Haley, Wayne Hamilton, Bill Hammond, Richard Hardy, Jim Henson, Ken Hodges, Deborah Ingersoll, Richie Jackson, Cal Jillson, Jason Johnson, Mark Jones, Robert Jones, Lisa Kaufman, Richard Khouri, Tom Kleinworth, Sandy Kress, Dale Laine, Nick Lampson, Pete Laney, Rene Lara, Bill Lauderback, Dick Lavine, James LeBas, Donald Lee, Luke Legate, Leslie Lemon, Ruben Longoria, Matt Mackowiak, Luke Marchant, Dan McClung, Kathy Miller, Robert Miller, Bee Moorhead, Mike Moses, Steve Murdock, Pat Nugent, Todd Olsen, Nef Partida, Gardner Pate, Robert Peeler, Jerry Philips, Tom Phillips, Wayne Pierce, Allen Place, Royce Poinsett, Jerry Polinard, Gary Polland, Jay Pritchard, Jay Propes, Bill Ratliff, Brian Rawson, Tim Reeves, Patrick Reinhart, David Reynolds, Boyd Richie, Grant Ruckel, Jason Sabo, Andy Sansom, Jim Sartwelle, Bruce Scott, Robert Scott, Christopher Shields, Jason Skaggs, Ed Small, Martha Smiley, Todd Smith, Larry Soward, Leonard Spearman, Dennis Speight, Tom Spilman, Jason Stanford, Bill Stevens, Bob Strauser, Colin Strother, Sherry Sylvester, Trey Trainor, Ware Wendell, David White, Darren Whitehurst, Seth Winick, Angelo Zottarelli.

The Calendar

Saturday, Nov. 16

  • Collin County Democratic Party Ann Richards Dinner; Marriott Legacy Town Center, Plano (6-9:30 p.m.)

Tuesday, Nov. 19

  • Fundraiser for House candidate Duane Ham; Austin Club (5:30-7:30 p.m.)
  • Fundraiser for Rep. Harold Dutton; La Griglia Restaurant, Houston (5:30-7 p.m.)

Wednesday, Nov. 20

  • Reception for Rep. Justin Rodriguez; Mi Tierra, San Antonio (5:30-7:30 p.m.)

Thursday, Nov. 21

  • Fundraiser for Sen. José Rodríguez; Austin Club (4:30-6:30 p.m.)

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

Sources close to state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, say she is poised to make an announcement on her political future on Friday. But the likely Democratic contender for lieutenant governor is expected to do what gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis did: reveal a future date for a formal announcement. The two women are now inextricably linked for their roles in the June 25 filibuster against a law that further regulated abortion facilities. Their appearance at the top of the ticket will likely heighten enthusiasm with the Democratic base.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott gave a 25-minute speech to a Tarrant County Tea Party group, outlining about a dozen policy proposals he would push if he wins the Governor's Mansion. One of those proposals would overhaul the state's ethics laws significantly and is getting plaudits initially from ethics watchdogs.

One of the UT System's top lawyers told the House select committee looking at possible articles of impeachment against Regent Wallace Hall that he may have been given confidential student information which he shared with his attorneys. In other developments, the committee issued and then recalled a subpoena for Hall because it would have summoned him on the wrong date. And UT regents formally requested an opinion from Attorney General Greg Abbott asking whether a legislative committee can compel testimony on matters protected by attorney-client privilege.

Michael Quinn Sullivan rejected a proposed settlement from the Texas Ethics Commission with a simple response: the word "NUTS" where his signature would have gone. He's contesting complaints filed by two lawmakers — state Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, and former state Rep. Vicki Truitt — that he acted as a lobbyist with registering as one for the 2010 and 2011 calendar years.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst called for a congressional investigation into whether the National Security Agency's domestic spying program has ever targeted gun owners, kept a list of firearms purchases or tracked gunshow visits. A previous survey conducted by the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll found the vast majority of Texas registered voters believe the NSA is the most likely of government agencies and other large organizations to violate their privacy.

The University of Texas at Austin’s lawyers and attorneys for Abigail Fisher, who is challenging the school’s consideration of race in admissions decisions, once again found themselves arguing before federal judges. The case is drawing national attention for what it could mean for the future of looking at race to promote diversity on college campuses.

The city of Wichita Falls will soon enter an unprecedented stage 4 of emergency drought response, which includes a total ban on outdoor watering and an internal audit of water consumption by local businesses. “It’s a vital resource now,” said Barry Levy, the city’s public information officer. The lakes’ combined capacity has dropped by 25 percent since February.

Political People and their Moves

Donna N. Williams of Arlington was re-elected as chairwoman of the Texas State University System's board of regents. First selected as regent in 2008, Williams — a vice president with Parsons Government Services — has been chairwoman since November 2012. The board also re-elected Ron Mitchell of Horseshoe Bay as vice chairman.

Frisco City Councilman Scott Johnson will not seek the Republican nomination for SD-8. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, currently represents the district but is running for the GOP nomination for attorney general next year. State Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, announced over the summer that he was interested in running for SD-8.

And speaking of Paxton's bid for Attorney General, state Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, has endorsed Paxton in that contest. Birdwell said that this marks the first time that he's endorsed in a statewide race, "underscoring how important he considers the race for Attorney General and the significance of his endorsement for Senator Paxton."

Baylor University has extended the contract of President Ken Starr and added a new title — chancellor. The board of regents said that along with the expanded title, Starr is charged with working "to increase Baylor's influence in the nation and around the world."

Lite guv candidate Dan Patrick announced his statewide campaign finance team. The effort will be chaired by James H. Lee of Houston, who served as state finance co-chairman of Texans for Rick Perry beginning in the spring of 2009 and national finance chairman of the Perry for President Campaign in 2011. Before that, he was chairman of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas board but stepped down in January 2009 after stories surfaced that he had been sued by a Las Vegas casino for an unpaid gambling debt. Other big names associated with Patrick's fundraising team include Roy Bailey of Dallas, longtime Patrick ally and leader of Conservative Republicans of Texas Steve Hotze of Houston, school voucher advocate Jim Leininger of San Antonio and conservative activist and financier Tim Dunn of Midland.

Land Commissioner candidate George P. Bush announced that he has obtained the endorsement of state Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler.

Will Hurd, who lists as a bullet point on his resume a nearly decade-long stint as an operations officer in the Central Intelligence Agency, filed for the Republican primary in Congressional District 23. That district, currently held by U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, is the state's lone true swing congressional district.

Brian Sledge, most recently with Lloyd Gosselink, is opening his own public affairs shop under the banner Sledge Fancher.

Quotes of the Week

Tell me that you give a flip about women’s interests. If all you want to talk about is my biology, ‘Gee what happened to my brain?’ That is my point. It is not all south of the waistline.

Comptroller Susan Combs, telling the Washington Times that Republicans should be talking to women about their families, their jobs and their futures

Everybody gets to go out and do their thing. That’s his thing. My thing is governing.

Gov. Rick Perry, asked by The Dallas Morning News about U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

Is a conservative in New Jersey a conservative in the rest of the country? We’ll have that discussion at the appropriate time.

Gov. Rick Perry, questioning pointedly the long term significance of Chris Christie's re-election as governor of the Garden State

I think Dairy Queens are perfect because you already have a lot of folks who sit and visit with neighbors there. That’s kind of what they do already.

State Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, on meeting constituents at the restaurants, known affectionately in the state as "Texas stop signs" for their ubiquity

I’m showing, if you would, a new kind of Republican candidate. One that is very substantive. One that has a lot of policy details.

Attorney General Greg Abbott, describing the dozen or so new public policy proposals he unveiled in a speech to a Tea Party meeting in Bedford

I want you to remember that you all were here. I can't make an announcement tonight, but you better keep your eye on the senator from Bexar County.

State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, on the news that his colleague, Leticia Van De Putte, D-San Antonio, is expected to announce Nov. 23 she will run for lieutenant governor