Abbott’s expected announcement will come less than a week after Governor Rick Perry told everyone that he won’t seek a fourth full term. There’s already one other player in the GOP primary field. That’s former state Republican Party chairman Tom Pauken. Dr. Jon Taylor chairs the Political Science department at University of St. Thomas. He says Pauken and Abbott will likely play different sides of the conservative base.
“With Pauken representing, much more likely, the Tea Party side of the party, and Abbott representing more of the so-called, middle-to-mainstream, whatever. But Abbott’s almost as conservative as Tom Pauken is.”
Taylor says Abbott’s track record in office gives him an advantage. And let’s not forget Abbott’s nearly $23 million dollar campaign fund. Pauken has barely a fraction of that. But Taylor says Pauken could gain some ground by playing up his image.
“There’ll be discussions about ‘oh, well, Abbott’s the establishment candidate, and Pauken’s the guy from the outside who’s basically picking up the pitchforks and let’s go get after these people.’ It’ll that kind of race, I think, in the end.”
Taylor predicts next year’s election for governor will play out every other statewide election since the mid-1990’s — whoever wins the Republican nomination will have essentially won the office. He says it’ll be 2018, or later, before Democrats even have a chance in a statewide election.