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Campaign Chatter

The daughter of a former Texas House speaker tops the latest round of campaign announcements.

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Christi Craddick, an attorney and the daughter of former Speaker Tom Craddick, will run for the Texas Railroad Commission. She's looking at Elizabeth Ames Jones' job; Jones is running for U.S. Senate and won't seek reelection next year. This could take some sorting. Former Public Utility Commissioner Barry Smitherman won Gov. Rick Perry's appointment to fill Michael Williams' position on the RRC. He'll be on the ballot next year. And others, including state Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, Roland Sledge, a Houston oil and gas lawyer and the brother-in-law of former Rep. and Texas A&M Chancellor Mike McKinney, and Comal County Commissioner Gregory Parker have all expressed interest in the commission.

Put another name in the hat in CD-25; Bill Burch of Arlington will join that race. He's the head of something called the Grass Roots Institute of Texas, or GRIT. Of note: Dallas Republican Vance Miller is that campaign's treasurer.

Burch is joining a race that heated up while we were out. Michael Williams moved into that contest from the congressional race he moved to when he got out of the race for the U.S. Senate for which effort he resigned from the Texas Railroad Commission. That gets him out of the congressional contest with car dealer Roger Williams. It opens him to carpet-bagging accusations. And it might be risking. The congressional lines (and all of the others, too) are being contested in court. If, after hearings that start next month, the federal judges change the lines, candidates could have another round of musical chairs. Williams could get caught searching for a base (on the other hand, he'll be the only candidate in the race who's run statewide, for what it's worth). State Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephenville, contends the district was drawn for him. He could be in. So could political consultant Chad Wilbanks of Lake Travis, who announced an exploratory committee. Wes Riddle, founder of the Central Texas Tea Party, is running in that primary, too. Dave Garrison, a retired USAA and Halliburton exec, is running. The incumbent, Democrat Lloyd Doggett of Austin, is moving to another district that's more likely to elect a Democrat.

There's a crowded race on some of turf Williams is leaving behind. State Sen. Wendy Davis' Tarrant County district was drawn to make it harder for the Fort Worth Democrat to turn. She's running for reelection, but a number of Republicans are sniffing around. State Rep. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, says he'll run. Two other state reps — Mark Shelton of Fort Worth and Vicki Truitt of Keller — both say they're interested, too, though neither has announced a decision.

A nearby statehouse district has the attention of two Democrats who lost their seats in last year's Republican rout. Chris Turner of Burleson and Paula Pierson of Arlington both told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram they'll run in HD-101, an open seat.

Before our summer break, state Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, was saying he'd have a look at the congressional seat being left behind by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Surfside. He looked, he saw, and he wandered. Taylor is back to pondering his original target — the seat occupied by state Sen. Mike Jackson, R-La Porte. Jackson is looking at Congress, which would leave his spot open. In Beaumont, Republican attorney Michael Truncale announced he'll run for Congress in CD-14 — Paul's district. Truncale is a member of the State Republican Executive Committee and a regent at the Texas State University System.

Speaker Pro Tempore Beverly Woolley, R-Houston, won't seek another term. She announced for office on her birthday all those years ago (1994), and announced on her birthday this year that she won't be back. She turned 72 last month. "I've been there a long time, and I'm no youngster," she said. "It was a hard session. You have to know when it's time." Former Houston City Councilwoman and city controller candidate Pam Holm is probably running for that spot, as is Michael Schofield, who lost a 2006 House race and is now working for Gov. Rick Perry.

Sugar Land Mayor Pro Tem Jacquie Chaumette says she will challenge Rep. Charlie Howard, R-Sugar Land, in next year's Republican primary.

Gerald "Buddy" Winn, who pushed Rep. Fred Brown, R-College Station, into a runoff last year, will run for the House, but not in the seat from which Brown resigned last month. The new lines put Winn in a new district that runs from College Station up to Waco. He's looking at it. Brown quit to take a job in Salado, which is outside of his Brazos County district.

Jim Kuiken of Weslaco says he's exploring a run for Congress in CD-15, where the incumbent is Democrat Ruben Hinojosa. Kuiken is a republican, a former Border Patrol Agent, Marine and homeland security executive.

State Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Southside Place, says she'll seek reelection next year. State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, says he wants more; he'll seek reelection, too.

 

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