Commentary: Reagan Reed
Greetings! For the first time ever, the weekly campaign round-up has actually been published two weeks in a row! It’s been an interesting week on the campaign trail, so without further ado, here is the latest:
Not much to report here. Don Huffines is calling for another special session to ban vaccine mandates, Allen West apparently ripped a mask off some random guy at an airport, and Governor Greg Abbott plays right-wing warrior on TV. So pretty much a typical week in the Texas gubernatorial race.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick still faces no serious opposition in the Republican Primary. So far two Republican challengers have emerged: Texas Nationalist Movement leader and pro-secession activist Daniel Miller and religious right activist Trayce Bradford. Another candidate is expected to file soon. The two contenders for the Democratic nomination are perennial candidate Mike Collier and former GOP strategist Matthew Dowd.
The biggest political development of the week has been in the already hotly contested race for attorney general. Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX), among the House’s foremost right-wing rabble rousers, announced an exploratory campaign to challenge Attorney General Ken Paxton in the Republican Primary. Gohmert says that if he can raise a million dollars by November 19, he will run. Gohmert has most likely been drawn to the race by the poor performance of Paxton’s current challengers in the polls, despite the incumbent’s perceived weakness. Paxton is enmeshed in multiple scandals, and has drawn multiple serious challengers, including Land Commissioner George P. Bush, former Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, and State Rep. Matt Krause. However, if Gohmert does follow through with his campaign, he would likely be the favorite to get into a runoff with Paxton, due to his national profile and popularity with the right-wing base.
State Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway) remains the clear front runner, and recently met with former President Donald Trump, who has endorsed her. The other candidates in the GOP primary are Weston Martinez and John Spiers.
Despite the incumbent being a very colorful figure, the race for Agriculture Commissioner has been pretty quiet lately. Incumbent Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller of “Jesus Shot” fame will be defending his seat against challenger State Rep. James White (R-Hillister).
Congressional District 8:
Republican strategist Christian Collins continues to pick up momentum in his campaign to replace his old boss in the 8th District. Collins has been working hard to consolidate support from the hard-right, and in this has had some pretty significant recent successes. The House Freedom Caucus has invested early and heavily in his campaign, already committing to spend almost $244,000 on his behalf. Collins has committed to joining the Freedom Caucus if elected. He also has the backing of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).
However, retired Navy SEAL Morgan Luttrell should still be considered the front runner at this point. His campaign has a strong lead in fundraising and he has good name ID. Luttrell has the enthusiastic backing of former governor and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who he worked under in the Trump administration.
Rounding out the top tier is retired Navy JAG attorney Jonathan Hullihan. Although he doesn’t have the money or name ID of Collins or Luttrell, Hullihan has been running an underdog campaign appealing to Tea Party activists. Hullihan and Collins have both benefited from the news that State Rep. Steve Toth (R-Conroe) will be seeking re-election to his house seat instead of running for Congress, since they are both seeking to appeal to the Tea Party base which Toth would have dominated.
Montgomery County Judge:
Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough has drawn two challengers: one to his right and one to his left. Coming at him from the more “establishment” side is City of Montgomery Mayor Sarah Countryman, while founder of the disaster relief non-profit IConnect, Billy Graff, is challenging Keough from the right. Due to her current position as mayor, Countryman is likely to be the better funded of the two challengers. Graff is seeking to peel off tea party activists who supported Keough last time but who may think Keough hasn’t been conservative enough. Although he has a couple vulnerabilities which his opponents are sure to exploit, Keough has been a fairly non-controversial and successful county judge and as the incumbent is the favorite to win re-election.
And that’s the state of the 2022 midterm elections in Texas. See y’all next week!
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