Campaigns distracted by non-candidates

Posted by John Kanelis on

Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune has it quite right: Texans who otherwise might be concentrating on key statewide races for public office have been distracted by event centered on the activities -- real and alleged -- of people who aren't even on the ballot.

The Tribune analysis notes a couple of interesting twists in the campaign for Texas governor.

Analysis: Despite Calendar, Campaigns Take a Back Seat

One is that the current governor, who isn't running for re-election, has been indicted by a Travis County grand jury for abuse of power and coercion. Political junkies, pundits and news hounds can't stop talking about Gov. Rick Perry's troubles, and the aggressive counterattack he has launched against the process that brought about the indictment.

Meanwhile, according to Ramsey, Democratic candidate for governor Wendy Davis is trying to get traction with another public official's standing dragging her down. That would be President Barack Obama.

As Ramsey reports: "The last time Texas Democrats ran a midterm election with Barack Obama in the White House, their partisan parity in the Texas House was destroyed. The 2010 election turned a 76-74 Republican advantage into (after a couple of post-election party switches) a 102-48 Republican advantage."

The one difference between 2010 and 2014 might be that the president isn't set to run for re-election.

As for the Republican nominee for governor, Greg Abbott has been quiet about Perry's difficult circumstance. For that matter, so has Davis.

Let's add another name to the mix of distractions: Rosemary Lehmberg, the Democratic Travis County district attorney who got busted for drunk driving and who runs the public integrity unit out of her office. Perry demanded her resignation and then threatened to veto money for the integrity unit if she didn't quit. Lehmberg didn't resign. Perry vetoed the money. A grand jury was impaneled to look into all of that and then it returned the indictment.

Meanwhile, Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott are scurrying around the state trying to get people's attention: "Hey, Texans, what about me?"

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