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Campaign Chatter

A comeback run, a couple of attempts at higher office, and a slew of challenges mark this week's campaign talk.

State Rep. Larry Taylor (l), R-League City, plays around with State Rep. Armando Martinez (c), D-Weslaco  on the House floor on March 21, 2011.

State Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, is through exploring — he'll run for the Texas Senate seat being vacated by Mike Jackson, R-La Porte. Jackson is running for Congress in one of the state's four new seats and Taylor has been expressing an interest in the Senate spot ever since he learned of Jackson's plans. He waited for Jackson to officially announce, then waited a week or so, and now he's in.

Former state Rep. Corbin Van Arsdale, a Republican, will run in an open House seat in Williamson County, where he now lives. Van Arsdale had a Tomball seat, but lost that in 2008 to Allen Fletcher, R-Tomball (who had a strong assist from state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston. Van Arsdale, who's been lobbying for AGC-Texas Building Branch, had said he'd be interested only if he pulled some local support. He got enough, apparently, to jump in. His list includes former Rep. Dan Gattis, R-Georgetown, and Williamson County Constable Rick Coffman. And there's this: His campaign claims it raised $100,000 on the first day after Van Arsdale announced.

Republican James Wilson, a former regional director for then-U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm, is running against state Rep. Debbie Riddle in HD-150, if that's not on your radar yet. He was a Texas legislative staffer before working for Gramm, and is now an insurance agent. Riddle is from Tomball; Wilson's kids are in the Klein schools, and he's billing himself as the education candidate in the race.

Here's another Republican playing the education card: Amber Fulton, a former member of the Lewisville school board who lives in The Colony, will run for the HD-106 seat in Denton County. That's an open seat, but it's also attracted Patrick Fallon, who lives in Collin County but serves as a city councilman and mayor pro tem in Frisco, which straddles the Collin-Denton county line. She comes with endorsements from Reps. Diane Patrick, R-Arlington, and Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth.

Michael Pruneda, a Pharr attorney and a Democrat, will run for the House in HD-40, where the incumbent is Rep. Veronica Gonzales, D-McAllen.

State Rep. Barbara Mallory Caraway, D-Dallas, might challenge U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, also D-Dallas, for that congressional seat, according to The Dallas Morning News. Johnson chaired the Senate Redistricting Committee that created the seat in the early 1990s and has held it ever since without a serious challenge.

Foreshadowing? Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, told a local audience that the legislative session was lost to politics, to people who were serving in one office with their eye on another, or on what activists might do to them for voting one way or another on particular issues. Ogden, who has been the subject of reelection rumors ever since the end of the session (this happens to him every two years or so, by the way) might as well have been talking about the future. The state Senate could be choosing a replacement for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst after the 2012 elections, and even Gov. Rick Perry, from their own ranks. The upper chamber of the Legislature could have 31 people with their eyes on jobs other than their own (see this week's Inside Intelligence for more about that).

Austin attorney Keith Hampton, a Democrat, will run for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, a job he has unsuccessfully sought before. He's running in Place 8. The incumbent is Republican Elsa Alcala, a Rick Perry appointee who's been on the court for three months, and who served as a district and appellate judge for 12 years before that. She's from Houston.

Michael Williams, running for Congress in CD-25, picked up endorsements from five former chairs of the state GOP: George Strake Jr., Fred Meyer, Susan Weddington, Tina Benkiser, and Cathie Adams.

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2012 elections Eddie Bernice Johnson Larry Taylor