Paul Sadler, a Democrat, Files for U.S. Senate

Former state Rep. Paul Sadler, D-Henderson, during the 77th Texas legislative session in May 2001.
Former state Rep. Paul Sadler, D-Henderson, during the 77th Texas legislative session in May 2001.

Just two days after fellow Democrat Ric Sanchez dropped out of the race, former state Rep. Paul Sadler of Henderson has filed to run for U.S. Senate.

It's an open seat. U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Dallas, isn't seeking re-election. Most of the action to this point has been on the Republican side of the ledger, where a pack of candidates is now being joined by football player-turned-TV-analyst Craig James. The rest of that group includes Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and former state solicitor general Ted Cruz. James, who's been talking about the race for months and whose candidacy went fully public last week, filed this afternoon.

Two Democrats have filed — Sean Hubbard and Daniel Boone. But the big name until last week was Sanchez, a retired lieutenant general who once led U.S. forces in Iraq. His campaign never got traction. That and personal troubles — his home burned down over the Thanksgiving holiday — prompted him to get out.

Sadler, in a brief telephone interview, said he has been thinking about the race since Hutchison announced her decision. Sanchez's announcement last week tipped the scales, and he filed with the Texas Democratic Party this afternoon.

Sadler was elected to the House in 1990 and served through 2002, ending his tenure with three terms as chairman of the Public Education committee. While George W. Bush was governor, Sadler chaired the special committee that worked on the tax bill Bush proposed as a remedy for public education problems. He lost a runoff election in 2004 to Republican Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, in a race for the Texas Senate. 

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