Word is he’s considering a run in 2014.
Could Kinky get nominated? Sure. You saw how little effort it took to run as a Democratic statewide for the Senate, and Kinky starts off with greater name recognition than any of the Dems in that race. There’s little indication any prominent Democrat wants to go through the meat-grinder of a statewide race (though if I were to guess, trial lawyer Jason A. Gibson, who launched an abortive Senate bid before Sadler got stamped with the union label, might make a run). Kinky’s probably to the right of the Democratic primary electorate, but I don’t see anyone with his name recognition talking about a run.
Could Kinky do better than he did in 2006? Sure. Kinky only got 12.5% of the vote, coming in fourth. Even Democrat Chris Bell did better in that four-way race, pulling in just shy of 30% of the vote. That’s probably his absolute floor if he gets the Democratic nomination, and it’s probably closer to 40%.
Could Kinky win? Doubtful, but not impossible. Save for 2006, Democratic gubernatorial candidates have pulled in between 40% (Tony Sanchez) and 42% (Bill White) of the vote against Rick Perry. Perry clearly damaged his popularity with the missteps of his abortive Presidential run (and, to a lesser extent, his endorsement of David Dewhurst’s failed senatorial campaign), though probably not enough to lose to Kinky (or any other Democrat), assuming he runs again. But two years is a long time, both good and bad. Perry has time to recover, but also to make a catastrophic error or fumble a crisis. And while it’s not nearly as widespread as the MSM would like you to believe, there is a certain amount of Perry fatigue among even Republican voters. Perry’s already the longest serving Governor in Texas history, having replaced George W. Bush on December 21, 2000. That’s an awful long time for anyone to be in the same office, and there are plenty of people ready to make the argument that it’s too long.
Will Rick Perry run again in 2014? Answer cloudy, ask again later. Maybe even Perry doesn’t know yet. Word is that Attorney General Greg Abbott is itching for the office, and may run even if Perry doesn’t opt to retire. If I had to guess, I think it’s slightly more likely that Perry retires than that he runs again. He has nothing left to prove at a statewide level. Dewhurst’s implosion proved that even the most well-heeled Texas incumbents are vulnerable to a challenge from the right. Perry has very little to gain and much to lose from hanging on, and a Perry-Abbott race would be a brutal smackdown that could go either way. It would probably be in Perry’s best interest to assume that Texas A&M Presidency rumor has the diehard Aggie angling for as his post-gubernatorial sinecure, and possibly contemplate another Presidential run at the end of Romney’s second term. But Perry would hardly be the first politician to stay in office too long.
Another gubernatorial run might not be good for Kinky, but it would be be good for the Texas Democratic Party, which resembles a moldy thing in a jar more than a viable alternative. Kinky might (might) even be able to shake off the stultifying far-left political correctness that has rendered the party uncompetitive in statewide races.
It would also be good for the Republican Party of Texas; once you get past the Tea Party, there’s no one left to keep them honest.