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Campaign Chatter

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, is still in the maybe column in the race to replace U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. But Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, says he won't run for that federal job; he might be looking instead at the lieutenant governor's post in 2014.

State Sen. Dan Patrick holds a short press conference on his intentions to run for U.S. Senate on May 27, 2011.

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, is still in the maybe column in the race to replace U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. He's wealthy enough to run dollar-for-dollar against Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, but Dewhurst has won four statewide general elections in a row to none for McCaul. As a side note, McCaul and Ted Cruz, the former state solicitor general who's also in the Senate race, are often touted as attorney general candidates in 2014, when AG Greg Abbott is expected to run for governor.

Sometimes, it's news when they don't run. State Sen. Dan Patrick won't join the race for U.S. Senate and says he'll stick around here to keep a hand in the governor-lite governor succession race.

The Senate would replace David Dewhurst if he leaves, and would replace both him and Rick Perry if the governor moves out. Patrick might or might not get the votes to hold one of those jobs, but he wants to have an influence. "I want to be in the middle of these decisions so that I can be sure we have the right conservative in that position, if it's not me," he said.

In any case, he says he will "consider very seriously" running for the lieutenant governor's post in 2014. Dewhurst is running for the U.S. Senate, and Patrick and others are betting he'll be long gone by 2014.

Tony Dale, a veteran and a member of the Cedar Park City Council, will announce for the Texas House in the next few days in the new seat in Williamson County — HD-149. He'll face former Rep. Corbin Van Arsdale (who served from Tomball and then moved) in that primary. But he apparently won't face Ted Pataki, son of former New York Gov. George Pataki; the younger Pataki looked but won't get in. Pataki filed what appears to be a closing campaign finance report with the Texas Ethics Commission.

• Dr. Greg Bonnen, a Friendswood Republican and the brother of state Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, will run for the Texas House seat currently occupied by Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood.

Taylor will run for the state Senate next year, leaving an open seat. Bonnen is a neurosurgeon and the chairman at Houston Physicians' Hospital in Webster. He starts with an endorsement from Dr. Kyle Janek, a former state senator from that area who now lobbies in Austin.

Bonnen won't be alone in that HD-24 race: Rhett Eubanks, who runs a family-owned trucking business in Friendswood and works as a volunteer at the Harris County Sheriff's office, says he'll be in the GOP primary, too.

Taylor's jump is based on Mike Jackson's jump; the state senator will run for Congress in a newly created district in Southeast Texas. Here's another game of hopscotch about to be underway: State Rep. Randy Weber, R-Pearland, announced this week that he will announce next week his intentions in CD-14 — the congressional seat now held by Ron Paul. Weber says in his announcement — hold that suspense! — that "the fundraising effort for the exploratory committee was an unqualified success." He's in. Paul, who's seeking the Republican nomination for president, isn't seeking reelection to Congress.

Ken King, a Canadian Republican (that's Canadian as in Texas Panhandle, and not Canadian as in Yukon) will run for the Texas House in HD-88, the district where Reps. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, and Jim Landtroop, R-Plainview, were paired. Chisum isn't running for reelection — he plans to run for the Texas Railroad Commission. King is president of the Canadian ISD board and the vice president of a well services company.

Grant Stintchfield, a former TV reporter, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram he will challenge U.S. Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Coppell, in the GOP primary next year.

• Take state Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephenville, off the congressional list. He announced he will instead run for reelection to his state House seat.

• State Rep. Erwin Cain, R-Como, says he hasn't decided whether to run for reelection but will, and soon. And he says rumors of a run for county judge are wrong, as the county judge is a friend of his. The freshman rep was paired with Dan Flynn, R-Van, in redistricting. He says he wanted to recover from the session and get some work done: "I've just not given it that much thought," he says.

• Democrat Keith Hampton will take another run at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, this time against Rick Perry appointee Elsa Alcala, who'll be defending her appointment to the court at the ballot box next year.

• Republican Wade Brown of May, Texas (it's north of Brownwood, between Fort Worth and Abilene) will challenge U.S. Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Midland, next year. He's a veteran (Marines) and this is apparently his first run for office. There's a Democrat in that CD-11 race, too: Jim Riley of San Angelo. The biography on his website is eight pages long and when you reach page nine, it says "Under construction." Happy reading.

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