Former Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, who announced his intention back in January to seek the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison, is likely to drop out of that race and instead run for a newly created congressional seat in House District 33, which contains his hometown of Arlington, sources tell the Tribune.
The decision hinges on whether the House and Senate pass the current congressional redistricting maps early next week. Sources say that Williams could exit the Senate race before next Wednesday's Tribune forum featuring the leading intended candidates in the race, who also include former solicitor general Ted Cruz, Railroad Commission Chairwoman Elizabeth Ames Jones, former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, are considering entering the Senate race.
According to the latest filing with the Federal Election Commission, Michael Williams' Senate campaign raised just $418,000 in the first quarter of 2011, less than Cruz, Leppert and Roger Williams but more than Jones.
Williams' campaign consultant, Corbin Casteel, confirmed the switch was impending. "Commissioner Williams has lived in Arlington since the early 90s when he returned to Texas after working for Presidents Reagan and Bush," Casteel said in a statement to the Tribune. "His home has been drawn into a newly created Congressional district. He has received a great deal of encouragement to transition from the Senate race to run for Congress. Provided the new district does not change significantly, he will pursue the new congressional seat."