Democrat Chris Bell, a former Houston congressman who made an unsuccessful bid for governor two years ago, is expected to take a big step today toward a run for a Texas Senate seat now in Republican hands.
Bell will file official paperwork to set up a campaign committee and appoint a campaign treasurer for a possible run for the District 17 seat recently vacated by Kyle Janek, said Jason Stanford, Bell’s political consultant.
“Yes, he’s leaning toward it and is probably going to make an announcement later this month,” Stanford said. “It’s not often that a Democrat gets a chance like this.”
Janek, 50, resigned June 2 to become an Austin lobbyist.
A one-seat gain by Democrats in the Senate could give the minority party more clout, even though Republicans would still outnumber Democrats 19-12. Democrats would be in a better position to block proposed legislation thanks to a rule that requires two-thirds consent by all senators before a bill can be brought up for debate.
Under Texas law, there is no difference between the formation of a formal campaign committee and a committee to explore running for office. The appointment of a campaign treasurer is a first step in that process.
News of Bell’s potential interest in the seat has been reported for nearly two months, but invitations sent out last week for a July 24 reception for Democrat Joe Jaworski, a former Galveston City Council member running against GOP state Sen. Mike Jackson of La Porte, mentioned that Bell might also soon be a state Senate candidate.
Source: Austin American Statesman