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TribBlog: "The Rumor Mill in Austin is Very Efficient"

State Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, says he's talking to the Texas A&M Universtity System about a vice chancellor's job there, but says the issue is "unresolved," and that the public conversation about his intentions "is really premature." That said, he's already talking about how he'd leave office.

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State Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, says he's talking to the Texas A&M University System about a vice chancellor's job there, but says the issue is "unresolved," and that the public conversation about his intentions "is really premature."

He talked with A&M Chancellor Mike McKinney on Sunday, adding fuel to talk that he might join the university system and leave the Legislature. And Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst shuffled committee assignments yesterday, leaving the veteran senator without a standing committee chairmanship. Wentworth says it's not a done deal, but it sounds pretty far along. "He [McKinney] is interested in having me on board and I'm interested in coming on board," he said this morning.

An interesting side note: Wentworth said he'll remain on the November ballot whether he takes the A&M job or not. Leaving early would leave the nomination in the hands of party officials, and he thinks that's undemocratic. He'd stay on the ballot, presumeably win (it's a Republican district, and his only opponent is a Libertarian) and then decline to take the seat. That would set up a special election where the candidates weren't chosen by party elders. "So the people could pick my successor," he said.

As recently as April, he was denying rumors that he might leave the Senate. He was the runner-up — behind former Rep. Brian McCall, R-Plano — for the chancellor's job at the Texas State University System. He had been attributing the departure rumors to that episode. And later, he sent a scorching and very public letter to the chairman of the TSUS board, scolding the regents for choosing McCall over him.

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