Former State Party Chair Wants “New Style of Leadership”
The 2014 Texas Governor's race has been surrounded by intrigue, with Governor Rick Perry considering whether to seek a fourth term and a possible White House bid in 2016, and Attorney General Greg Abbott also considered a likely candidate. Neither Perry nor Abbott have declared their intentions yet, but a longtime figure in Texas politics is getting a head start. Tom Pauken, a former state GOP chairman and member of the Texas Workforce Commission, has hired a campaign treasurer and plans to seek the Republican nomination for governor next year. Pauken calls it a "grass-roots campaign" and tells the Associated Press, "I just think we need a new style of leadership in Texas."
Harvey Kronberg, publisher of the Quorum Report, has covered Texas politics for 30 years. He tells KTRH Pauken's bid should be taken seriously. "Tom Pauken has been a fixture in Texas Republican politics now for 40 years, and I think he can raise enough money to at least be modestly competitive," says Kronberg. Indeed, Pauken is well-known in political circles throughout the state and has strong conservative credentials. He is an Army Vietnam veteran and served as a White House lawyer under President Ronald Reagan. Kronberg also thinks it is a smart move for Pauken to get in the race early. "He has the advantage right now that everyone else is preoccupied with the legislative session, so for the next 90 days he's going to be testing the waters, seeing if he has any real fundraising ability."
In his interview with the AP, Pauken admitted he doesn't have the name recognition or fundraising ability of Perry or Abbott, but says he's confident he'll have "sufficient funds to mount an effective campaign." Kronberg sees Pauken's statewide contacts and political experience as untapped assets. "In a Republican primary money is important, but it's not everything," says Kronberg. "And the depth of his roots and the message he's gonna deliver could make him viable." Right now, Abbott reportedly has about $18 million in his war chest, while Perry has about $6 million. Both men are expected to announce their future political intentions after the current legislative session ends.