And then there was one… It’s starting to look like no major Democrats want to even bother trying to win the Senate seat that Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is leaving open next year. I was on KTRH radio in Houston today to discuss the race for the Hutchison Senate seat. After going through the names of all the Republicans who are either already declared candidates or are pondering a run, the hosts shifted over to the Democrats and asked a local Dem leader who would run on their side. Only one name came up, that of John Sharp. Sharp was among the most recent Democrats to hold statewide office in Texas — he was comptroller up to 1999. With 2010 Dem governor nominee Bill White out and Chris Bell, the Dem nominee for governor in 2006, laying low, it looks like it’s up to Sharp to carry the D banner alone.
You can almost taste the Democrats’ disappointment over this seat. In 2009, as Hutchison prepared to run against Gov. Rick Perry in the GOP primary, everyone anticipated that she would resign during the primary, triggering a special election that would pit one or two Democrats against a huge field of Republicans in a winner-take-all contest. The Republicans would have split their vote, allowing a Democrat to either walk into the seat or at least take enough of the remaining vote to get into a run-off with the top Republican. This is how Sen. John Tower became the first statewide elected Republican in Texas back in the 1960s, which began the slow realignment of Texas from Democrat to Republican. Now, thanks to Sen. Hutchison retiring rather than resiging, the special election is not going to happen, and evidently only one Democrat now wants to even bother running for the seat.