Tom Schieffer's out, and for the sake of this piece, let's say Bill White is running for the Democratic nomination for governor.
How's that work out for everybody?
John Sharp: Can you hear the cackling? The only other Democrat who wants to run for the U.S. Senate might have won the lottery here. The theory: The Republicans in that race split up the vote on their side, and without White in the race, there aren't any other (major) Democrats to carve up his side of the vote. Probably not the formula for a first-round win — the last such special election had 23 candidates in it — but it could save Sharp some money and some blood in the first part of the race and leave him well-positioned for a runoff. On the other hand, the Republicans could have their fight and the state might turn out to be just as red as ever in the end.
David Dewhurst, Elizabeth Ames Jones, Florence Shapiro, Michael Williams, Roger Williams: Bummer. These are the Republicans in the Senate race (the one to replace the state's senior senator, who hasn't resigned yet). Four of them won't make it to the final. The good news is that the final is being held in a Red State, probably against a Democrat.
Kay Bailey Hutchison: Not so hot. She was counting on moderate and independent votes in her campaign for the Republican GOP nomination (let's ignore that fundraiser and press conference last week with former Vice President Dick Cheney), and the crossover vote probably won't materialize now. If it's a straight GOP primary with no visiting moderates, it's Perry country. This is Perry spin, to some extent, but White and Hutchison have some overlap with the independents. If Hutchison remains behind Perry in the polls and voters don't think it's a tight race, she suffers here.
Rick Perry: Joy now, pain later. For the first part, see above. For the latter, look at The University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll earlier this month or the Rasumussen Poll that came out last week. Both said Perry is ahead of Hutchison in the primary, and both said she's the stronger of the two Republican candidates next November. Perry's still ahead of the Democrats, but not by as much. And White's the Democrat who polled best against him.
Kristi Thibaut: All good. The guy at the top of the ticket in November is one of the best-known, most popular pols in Houston, and Thibaut, a freshman Democrat trying to win a second term in the Texas House, gets to run on his side of the ballot? In Houston?
Jim Murphy: Ouch. The former representative, a Republican, is running against Thibaut. What's good for her is not good for him.
Dwayne Bohac and Ken Legler: Twitchy. They're Harris County Republicans. See above.
Statewide Democrats: This goes into the category of faith-based political thinking, but the Democrats down the ballot do better if the candidates at the top attract some voters. And if White & Co. get the ticket going, and if the party can really produce the $5 million to $8 million coordinated campaign Boyd Richie is talking about, this could be good. But the Democrats haven't produced that kind of coordination in years and years, much less that sort of money in a coordinated campaign. Which is why this one is a matter, on their part, of faith.