Democrat Chris Bell plans to run for U.S. Senate

The former Houston congressman and 2006 gubernatorial candidate is moving forward with a U.S. Senate run.

Former U.S. Rep. Chris Bell.
Former U.S. Rep. Chris Bell.  Illustration by John Jordan/The Texas Tribune

Democrat Chris Bell, the former Houston congressman and 2006 gubernatorial nominee, is moving forward with a U.S. Senate run.

On Tuesday, he filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission establishing a campaign. Shortly afterward, he told The Texas Tribune that he was "definitely planning to run" but will make a formal announcement at a later date.

Bell revealed in early May that he was considering a Senate bid and launched an exploratory committee last month.

If he runs, Bell will join several Democrats already running to unseat U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. Among them is former U.S. House candidate MJ Hegar, who raised over $1 million in the second quarter, according to her campaign.

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There are also other Democrats still weighing campaigns, including Houston City Council member Amanda Edwards and state Sen. Royce West of Dallas.

Bell, a former Houston City Council member, represented a district in Congress from 2003-05 that included part of the city. In the 2006 gubernatorial race, he got 30% of the vote against then-Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, and two well-known independent candidates. He has since attempted a number of political comebacks.

In his filing with the FEC, Bell named former Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski as his campaign treasurer. Bell said the Jaworski name “stands for integrity and the highest ethical standards in the eyes of many Texans – things that are sorely missing in today’s Washington and that I plan to talk about a lot on the campaign trail."