Plano City Councilwoman Mabrie Griffith Jackson is telling supporters she will resign that city job as early as Monday to put her name into the race to replace Rep. Brian McCall, R-Plano, who has decided he won't seek an 11th term next year.
Jackson worked for EDS Corp. and more recently, for Microsoft Corp., and was once a legislative assistant in the Texas House. Her campaign website is still set up for a city council race, but state law requires her to quit that job to seek the legislative post.
McCall, who's never received less than 65 percent of the vote in his House elections, had already drawn an opponent. Wayne Richard was set to run to McCall's right in HD-66. Now that the seat's open — and more open, based on other election results, to Republicans than Democrats. He's not getting involved at this point in the race for his successor.
Jackson was elected to the council in 2008.
It's early in the game, but this and other seats could figure into House Speaker Joe Straus' efforts to win a second term as speaker. He was elected by a large group of Democrats and a relatively small group of Republicans (including McCall) at the beginning of this year. He's on relatively solid ground going into the 2010 elections; he probably gained a Republican seat in Wichita Falls when David Farabee, a Democrat, decided not to seek reelection. That's Republican turf, unless there's a candidate named Farabee. And Jacksonville Democrat Chuck Hopson switched parties a week ago, adding to the GOP's majority in the House.
Conservative Republicans who want to regain control in the House — their guy, Tom Craddick of Midland, lost to Straus in January — would have to do it by winning over some Democrats and by knocking off some moderate Republicans and replacing them with conservatives. Picking off Democrats is a matter of finding people who aren't in prominent positions in Straus' regime. Picking off Republicans is tougher. But districts like McCall's would be the battlegrounds — especially when the incumbents aren't in the way.