Joe Pickett Will Not Run for Texas Senate Seat

Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, said today he decided not to run for the Texas Senate seat being vacated by state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh.

I'm just going to cool my jets," said Pickett, who had floated the idea last week.

The chairman of the House Transportation Committee said he is happy with his position in the lower chamber. And, he doesn’t see a move to the Senate as a step up.

"I don’t need to run for the Senate," he said. "I'm in a really good spot for El Paso."

Asked whether he'd support any of the current candidates who have expressed interest in the El Paso Senate seat, Pickett said he was keeping his powder dry for now.

When Shapleigh announced Friday that he would not run for re-election to the Texas Senate, several prominent El Paso politicos started talking about making a bid for the rarely open seat.

The loudest talkers so far have been state Rep. Norma Chavez, D-El Paso, and El Paso County Attorney Jose Rodriguez, a close friend of Shapleigh's.

Shapleigh hinted heavily that he has plans to run for higher office, potentially a statewide position, but he said he won't reveal his designs for another two to three weeks.

On a side note, Pickett said he and fiancée Shannon Wiggins are planning a wedding for next spring. They had planned to get hitched sooner, but discovered the planning takes a bit more time.

"I didn't realize what a big deal it is," Pickett said.

The nuptials are tentatively set for April 2010, and will probably take place in Austin.

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