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An independent bid for governor?

It didn’t get an enormous amount of play in the last few days, but the race for Texas governor in 2014 could get a lot more interesting if current independent Comptroller candidate Debra Medina makes a move to seek the state’s top job instead.

Tea Party favorite Medina ran for the job in 2010 but lost to Gov. Rick Perry in the Republican primary pulling only 19 percent to Perry’s 51 percent.

Former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison drew 31 percent of the primary vote.

Two of the state’s better known online political news outlets, the Texas Tribune and Quorum Report, report that Medina is having difficulty raising money as an independent candidate in the already crowded Comptroller race.

Medina says she had been hearing from wealthy donors encouraging her to run for the state’s top job, instead.

The Tea Party activist says her heart is in the Comptroller’s race because that office has much ability to change state tax policy.

She told the two news outlets, however, that she can’t ignore the issue of financial resources that are necessary to mount an effective campaign for the Comptroller job.

If Medina does switch races, she could easily become a spoiler in the gubernatorial contest, much in the same way that independent candidates Carole Strayhorn and Kinky Friedman did in the four-way race for governor in 2006.

Gov. Rick Perry won the contest, but did so with only 39 percent of the vote.

A Medina candidacy could eat into Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Republican base of voters.

That effect would benefit the likely Democratic nominee, Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth.

Davis will announce her intentions on Oct. 3.

Just how much is the big question.

Statewide Democratic party candidates have not garnered more than 42 percent of the vote in recent elections.

If Medina were to run for governor as an independent, she could potentially siphon off enough of the Abbott vote to make the Abbott/Davis race much more competitive.

It’s just another possibility, and potential twist, in what is shaping up to be highly active 2014 Texas gubernatorial contest.

Questions?  Contact TAB's Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.

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