Welcome to 2014 and another election cycle in Texas.
And … welcome to Texas Democrats’ claim that this is the year they’ll turn things around and break through Republicans’ firewall around every statewide office in sight.
Texas Tribune’s Ross Ramsey offers an analysis that suggests that more things change, thee more they remain the same as they regard the Texas political landscape.
He’s probably right. However, as it often is said, the unpredictable can happen. This might be the year. Then again, it might just be more of the same.
Ramsey’s essay notes that in 1978, Democratic Party infighting opened the door for a blustery Dallas oilman named Bill Clements to ascend to the governor’s office, becoming the first Republican governor in Texas since Reconstruction.
Clements’s election signaled the start of a political sea change in Texas. The most recent Texas Democratic victory occurred in 1994. It’s been all Republican ever since.
This year, though, marks the start of a new election cycle that features in-fighting among Republicans. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn is getting a GOP primary challenge from tea party stalwart U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman; three Republicans are challenging Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s bid for re-election, and whoever wins that race will face a lively challenge from Democratic state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte.
Throughout the ballot, down through legislative districts — such as Senate District 31 in West Texas — GOP incumbents are facing intraparty challenges.
How all this affects the statewide political lineup at the end of the year remains to be seen.
It will, however, produce a lively political season.
Happy New Year, y’all.