Gov. Greg Abbott has yet to formally announce a bid for his third term, but that likely comes after the third legislative special session ends next month. Already, six people have filed to run as either Democrats or Republicans.
The biggest name on the Republican side is Don Huffines, a former Texas state senator. Also announced is former Texas GOP chair Allen West. Gov. Abbott’s political consultant, Dave Carney, told ABC13 they’re focused on what the governor has accomplished and not who may challenge him.
“We’re not going to run just on our accomplishments,” Carney said. “We’re going to talk about what his vision is for the next four years, and we will talk about that and launch all that when he announces.”
But the names a lot of people seem to bring up are two potential candidates who have not been announced.
One of the candidates is Beto O’Rourke, the former Democrat member of congress, 2018 senate candidate, and 2020 presidential candidate.
Last week he talked about his approach with voters at a virtual event hosted by The Texas Tribune.
“When we’re not obsessed with polls or focus groups or messaging but we’re just speaking the truth, whether it’s inconvenient or uncomfortable,” O’Rourke said. “It is always the strongest and most profound way to connect with people.”
Former Harris County Clerk and vice-chair of finance for Texas Democrats Chris Hollins supports an O’Rourke run.
“He’s somebody in congress, and since his time serving in congress [he] puts Texas first and I would be really excited about a [O’Rourke] candidacy,” Hollins said.
There is also the wildcard. Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey has hinted at a run and is polling well, despite never having laid out his political platform. His entry into the race would make it far different than a traditional campaign.
“He will disrupt the Democrats’ plans if he runs as an independent,” Carney said. “If he runs as a Democrat, it will be a hell of a primary. If he runs as a Republican it will be a hell of a primary. He has a super name ID and would bring a whole different perspective to the campaign.”
Candidates must file by mid-December 2021 and at this point, it seems to be as much about who is not yet in the race as it is about who is.
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