Wentworth to Stand Down?

Travis Co. Senator issues intriguing statement

Sen. Wentworth:
Sen. Wentworth: "Stay tuned and gig 'em!" (Photo by John Anderson)

During the flurry of Senate committee reshuffles yesterday, a new rumor flew that Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, might be stepping down. Since his district includes a slab of Travis County, this is of great local interest: Just got off the phone with his office, and his prepared statement is bound to cause a stir.

While it is premature for a formal announcement from either me or Chancellor Mike McKinney of the Texas A&M University system regarding the possibility of my joining his team, it is true that he and I are in discussions about how such an arrangement could work. All I can say is stay tuned and gig 'em.
It's no secret that Wentworth has been increasingly disaffected with Senate life. He'd already written off the next session as stillborn due to the scheduled redistricting debacle. It was recently revealed that he'd been eying the position of Texas State University chancellor and his exclusion from the new Senate redistricting committee was a final sign that something was in the air.

The dark note for Democrats is that, for all their policy disagreements, Wentworth is widely regarded as one of the best minds and honest dealers when it comes to electoral reform and redistricting.

The one positive? Wentworth was unchallenged in both this year's primary and in the upcoming general. He held the seat comfortably in 2006 with 58% of the vote (defeating a low-key challenge from Austin Democrat Kathi Thomas.)The Texas Tribune is reporting that Wentworth will stay on the ballot, then decline his seat and trigger a rapid special. If he does then it would be a sprint for Democrats and Republicans to find a decent candidate and assemble a reasonable campaign.

If that happens, the GOP will be forced to question how Republican that district really is. Thomas took in 37% of the 2006 electorate with less than $20,000 in contributions in the last six months of the election. Without Wentworth's valued incumbency and with a shifting district, this district could look more purple than solid red.

Got something to say on the subject? Send a letter to the editor.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Jeff Wentworth
When Dewhurst Goes Back to Senate
When Dewhurst Goes Back to Senate
How Cruz and Campbell's run-off wins rewrite the Legislature

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 3, 2012

Election Day Today Could Spell Perry Troubles
Election Day Today Could Spell Perry Troubles
Primary run-offs become GOP testing ground for governor and allies

Richard Whittaker, July 31, 2012

More Texas Senate
Houston Voters Say No to
Houston Voters Say No to "Robin Hood"
HISD rejects making school finance payments

Richard Whittaker, Nov. 15, 2016

Anti-Bullying Bill Filed for Texas Legislature
Anti-Bullying Bill Filed for Texas Legislature
San Antonio lawmakers open pre-filing season with David's Law today

Richard Whittaker, Nov. 14, 2016

More by Richard Whittaker
It's a Family Affair for the Hurleys in <i>Strictly Confidential</i>
It's a Family Affair for the Hurleys in Strictly Confidential
How Elizabeth tried (and failed) to keep son Damian out of the film biz

April 12, 2024

Paramount Theatre Announces <i>Star Wars</i>, <i>Pink Flamingos</i>, <i>Sin City</i> for Summer Classics Film Series
Paramount Theatre Announces Star Wars, Pink Flamingos, Sin City for Summer Classics Film Series
Plus Robert Rodriguez gets his star on Congress Avenue

April 11, 2024

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Jeff Wentworth, Texas Senate, Elections, Texas A&M

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle