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Rick Perry's Announcement and the Political Domino Effect

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, as you’ve no doubt heard, announced Monday he won’t seek a fourth term in office.

Gov. Perry will stay in office until his replacement takes over in January 2015. But the scrambling to be that replacement – and the dominoes falling into place – has already begun.

Republican Party of Texas chair Steve Munisteri calls it “a once-in-a-political-generation seismic shift in leadership.” And he isn’t just talking about the governor’s race; he’s referring to all the behind-the-scenes changes coming with whomever takes over the Governor’s office.

“It’s not just a governor switching out,” Munisteri says. “It’s a whole administration switching out of one group of people, who have been associated with Governor Perry, leaving town. And a complete new set of people coming in.”

Here’s a look at the domino effect caused by Perry’s announcement:

Lieutenant Governor: While brewing for weeks, Perry’s announcement has brought this race to the fore – the only race that currently has an incumbent who says he’s seeking re-election.


  • David Dewhurst


  • State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston
  • Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples
  • Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson

Attorney General: The position of top attorney is opening – because current A.G. Greg Abbott is expected to run for Governor.


  • Current railroad commissioner Barry Smitherman


  • State Representative Dan Branch, R-Highland Park
  • State Senator Ken Paxton, R-McKinney

Agriculture Commissioner: With current Ag Commissioner Staples running for Lt. Gov., this seat now comes into play.


  • None, so far.

Comptroller: While unrelated to Perry’s announcement, current Comptroller Combs is retiring – putting another seat in play.


  • Debra Medina

Land Commissioner: And with current Land commish Patterson seeking the Lt. Gov.’s position, this seat is also in play. Conventional wisdom is that no Republicans will face off against the next generation of the Bush family dynasty.


  • George P. Bush

On the Democratic side … there aren’t any candidates just yet. Yes, State Sen. Wendy Davis has jumped into the spotlight. And San Antonio’s Julian and Joaquin Castro are seen as national up-and-comers. But SMU Political Scientist Cal Jillson says … don’t hold your breath.
For more on why – plus Texas Tribune Editor-in-Chief and CEO Even Smith on Perry’s legacy – listen to today’s Agenda Texas in the audio player above.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.
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