I mean, it makes sense for the Democrats to run someone at least semi-credible just in case Perry wins a very blood primary http://www.star-telegram.com/news/story/1194077.html
Having wrapped up his career as an ambassador under President Bush, Fort Worth’s Tom Schieffer is back home and pondering a run for governor – as a Democrat.
"I’ve thought about it for a while," Schieffer told the Star-Telegram. "I have not made a decision."
Although Schieffer served in a Republican administration under Bush – with whom he worked as general manager of the Texas Rangers – he says there should be no confusion about his political affiliation. "I am a Democrat," said Schieffer, who voted for Barack Obama in the primary and general elections.
Schieffer, 61, who was ambassador to Japan for four years, until Jan. 20, and before that, ambassador to Australia for four years, says he is thinking that he has something to offer in the seemingly already crowded gubernatorial race.
"I’m not sure the level of debate in the state is where it ought to be," he said.
As for the sniping in the GOP nomination race between Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Schieffer said, "I think it’s about to go down a petty, mean and nasty road."
Democratic activist Matt Angle, director of the Lone Star Project, said, "I think it’s very interesting that Tom Schieffer comes back after eight years abroad and immediately recognizes what a mess the Republicans have made of Texas."
The last time Schieffer – brother of CBS newsman Bob Schieffer – ran for elective office was in 1978, when the three-term Texas House member lost re-election in a redrawn district.
Humorist and author Kinky Friedman may run for Texas governor again, but if he does, he says he's serious this time.
First, he'd run with the help of a major party — the Democrats — instead of launching an independent campaign like he did in 2006.
Friedman told The Associated Press Tuesday he learned some hard lessons from his fourth-place defeat to Republican Rick Perry in a race with three political veterans. He said he found out he couldn't win as an independent and that he shouldn't crack so many jokes.
"I'm toning down the one-liners a bit. If I run, it's going to be a serious run," said Friedman, peppering the interview with one-liners.
Friedman noted that Democratic comedian Al Franken did well in his U.S. Senate race in Minnesota, though his victory is still being debated in court.
"So this can be done," Friedman said.
Having failed on his first attempt, Friedman said he knows better how to win should he decide to run again. And that means running under the banner of a major party because of the obstacles that independent candidates in the state face, he said.
"I've been through the baptism of fire and until you've been an independent you don't really know what that is," he said.
Then he quipped, "I've said before that a ticket of Jesus Christ and Willie Nelson, you know, would not win in Texas if it ran as an independent. I don't think it can be done here. I'm glad I did it. I tried it."
He said he's been a Democrat all his life — though "not the kind of Democrat that goose-steps to the polling box" — and that he likes the direction the state party is taking.
Democrats can win the state's highest office if they pull in what he calls grassroots voters and small-town Texans, Friedman said. He considers rural support one of his strengths.
"I certainly like the way the Democratic Party is moving in Texas. I think the past four years it's kind of transformed itself into a more populist ... it's in a populist direction. In other words, I think they're moving toward Barbara Jordan and Ann Richards and Molly Ivins and Ralph Yarbrough and Sam Rayburn. That kind of thing," he said.
As he did many times in 2006, he criticized the Perry administration of being beholden to corporate interests. He said if he runs it will be as a "man of the people." Friedman said he wants to provide more support for teachers, improve health care coverage for Texans and abolish the death penalty.
"I do tend to ride to the left of the herd on most issues," he said.
Friedman said he has been actively talking to Democrats in the Legislature and elsewhere and encouraged any party members to call him. He says he's getting positive responses so far.
"I'm not a shy little bugger. I don't mind getting out there," Friedman said. He said he would have to make his decision on running soon. "It's not a done deal that I'm going to run at all."
The Republican primary battle between Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison seems to have Democrats fearful about committing to a run for governor, he said. Friedman said the Hutchison-Perry matchup "is sucking all the oxygen out of the room, but fortunately Texas is a very big room. ... I think the numbers are definitely in our favor."
On Tuesday, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that former ambassador Tom Schieffer is also considering a run for Texas governor as a Democrat. Schieffer served as ambassador to Australia and Japan under President George W. Bush. The newspaper also quoted a Democratic strategist as saying state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio may run in the Democratic primary.