Two-party races keep candidates in the middle

The Texas Tribune’s Ross Ramsey has offered a fascinating preview of what Texas voters might witness next year when the governor’s race gets into full swing.

Both parties figure to field major candidates for the state’s top political job.

The Republicans’ early favorite is Attorney General Greg Abbott. The Democrats have an even stronger favorite, state Sen. Wendy Davis. Thus, the parties’ potential nominees have to avoid veering too far to the extremes of their respective spectrums.

Ramsey’s analysis takes note of how in Texas all the activity in recent election cycles has been on the Republican side. With no Democrats challenging many state offices, the GOP primary contenders can veer far to the right without worrying about whether they’ll offend general election voters.

Not so this year, with Republicans and Democrats licking their chops at the prospect of a competitive campaign. That means Abbott and Davis will have to mindful of the vast political center that surveys indicate comprises the vast majority of both parties.

Indeed, a new University of Texas-Texas Tribune poll shows Abbott holding a single-digit lead over Davis for next year’s race for governor. Remember, a couple of things, though: The poll reflects a 20 percent undecided vote and the race still a whole year away — and a lot of things can change.

Still, with Republicans and Democrats awaiting their respective parties’ voters to nominate their candidates for governor, it appears the frontrunners will be more mindful of the vast center that awaits them next fall.


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