Where Are the Democrats on the 2018 Ballot?
With three months left to file, Dems … don't seem eager to sign up
Someone want to remind the Democrats that there's an election next year? Filing for the 2018 primaries opens on Nov. 14, so it would be reasonable to expect buzz about at least a few names for the major statewide offices on the ballot. Yet so far there's no one even talking about taking on Gov. Greg Abbott. Moreover, former San Antonio mayor and HUD secretary (and Hillary Clinton running mate short-lister) Julian Castro crushed any popular hopes that he would get in the ring by recently forming the Opportunity First PAC, hinting at a presidential run in 2020. (His identical twin brother Joaquin is presumably far too busy and comfortable in Congress.) Elsewhere on the ballot, the list looks equally anemic, with no Democratic candidates stepping up for (deep breath) attorney general, Comptroller of Public Accounts, or Commissioner of the General Land Office, all of which are up for re-election.
It's not all grim news. Former Texas Democratic Party finance chair Mike Collier is already stumping against Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, while onetime Weatherford ISD trustee and retired Air Force colonel Kim Olson is going after Agriculture Commissioner (and walking Texas caricature) Sid Miller. Filling out the slate is Roman McAllen, historic preservation officer for Denton and a self-described "Independent Democrat," who wants to unseat Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick.
Looking forward, Republican incumbents appear almost as likely to face an internal primary challenger as a Democratic threat. Licensed surveyor Davey Edwards has already said he will challenge Land Commissioner George P. Bush. (Edwards has never held elected office before, but then again, neither had Bush before he slid into the gig on the family name.) Then there's the mysterious future of Republican U.S. Congressman Mike McCaul, who holds one of the heavily gerrymandered GOP-friendly seats, some of which somehow covers Austin. He'd been mooted as a potential cabinet member in the Trump administration, but has consistently tried to put clear water between himself and POTUS's more controversial measures, particularly the travel ban. McCaul has long been rumored to be considering a new office, and speculation has been that he's considering the Texas attorney generalship, currently held by Ken Paxton. The question there is whether McCaul is looking at a primary challenge or just waiting for the verdict in Paxton's looming trial for securities fraud, scheduled for Dec. 11.