The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

And Then There Were Four?

So by now all of y'all have heard that Carole Keeton McLellan Rylander Strayhorn has decided to run as an independent:

Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn announced Monday she will run for governor as an independent, abandoning the Republican primary for a direct shot at the state’s top job in November.

“I am a Republican, but I know we must set partisan politics aside and do what’s right for Texas," Strayhorn said in prepared remarks. "That is why I am running for governor as an independent. A Texas independent.”

That's probably the best choice for her if she wants to have the best chance at winning. There was no way she was going to break into Perry's stranglehold on Republican primary voters. She'd have spent her millions of dollars doing part of the dirty work for Chris Bell- moving up Perry's negative ratings- with nothing to show for herself when it was all said and done. With her money, she shouldn't have that bad of a time gathering the requisite signatures. Which puts Kinky's years long gubernatorial campaign between a rock and a hard place. But if both Strayhorn and Kinky put themselves on the ballot, then Perry's done. Three candidates railing at him for months on end is gonna kill him.

The best read I've seen on the situation comes Jason Stanford over at Team Bell:

The race is now going to come down to 3 Republicans and one Democrat. All Chris Bell has to do is get Democrats to vote for a Democrat, and he’ll win. As Burnt Orange Report recently pointed out, One Tough Grandma is One Dedicated Republican, and Kinky Friedman last ran for office as a Republican and is still very much at home with a certain segment of that party, bless their souls. And Rick Perry, he's not going to stop being the High Priest of the Hardliners.

The algebra of the 4-way race gives an advantage to a party nominee because he has an identifiable base of voters. Heck, the party even keeps a list of them. If Chris Bell holds onto the 37% that voted for John Kerry and the 40% that voted for Tony Sanchez, he wins. And that math would seem to favor a scrapper such as Chris Bell who has a history of sticking up for what Democrats believe in. Chris has been saying for a year that this is a nomination worth fighting for, and today's development only grabs that knob and turns it up to 11.

We also think that Chris Bell looks pretty good in a 4-way race that includes a flawed and vulverable incumbent and two extra campaigns trying to sack the castle. In this crowd, it’s going to be pretty obvious that Chris Bell is the only candidate offering new ideas about how to get Texas headed in the right direction. It’s not enough to be right about Rick Perry being wrong. With his New Mainstream message and his Pact with Parents roadmap, only Chris Bell is pointing the way toward a new day for Texas.

If Kinky and Strayhorn get on the ballot, the first one to 40(%) wins. Stanford's right, this race is about Republican vs. Republican-lite vs. the Kinky vanity campaign vs. Democrat.

I bet all those Dems who wanted to be Governor but waffled and wavered about throwing their hat into the ring because of Rick Perry, his ability to raise money, and Republican dominance in Texas are kicking themselves now huh?