Abbott kicks off gubernatorial campaign, will visit Longview Tue - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Abbott kicks off gubernatorial campaign, will visit Longview Tuesday

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State Attorney General Greg Abbott will kick off his campaign for Texas governor Monday, one day after announcing his candidacy at a San Antonio rally.

With Governor Perry's announcement last week that he won't be seeking a fourth term as Texas governor, Abbott is considered by many around the state to be the gubernatorial front-runner.

And Abbott is no stranger to the statewide stage. He's the longest serving attorney general of Texas, having taken office in December 2002. Before that, he was a member of the Texas Supreme Court. He was appointed by then-Governor George Bush in 1995 and was re-elected to that post twice.

He's also served as a state trial judge and a private lawyer.

Abbott's announcement Sunday came 29 years to the day he was paralyzed. He was running in a Houston neighborhood when a tree snapped and fell on him. He's been in a wheelchair ever since.

Politically, Abbott is seen as a strict social conservative - perhaps even more conservative than Perry.

In his announcement speech Sunday, Abbott never mentioned Perry, but gave some hints about how he might govern differently.

Abbott said he would usher in a new era of education reform where skyrocketing tuition is a thing of the past. He also said he would reduce state debt by limiting the amount the state can borrow.

And regarding the economy, he mentioned getting government out of the business of "picking winners and losers," a reference to giving tax subsidies to companies that bring new business to Texas, a practice Perry has championed for the last 12 years.

It had been widely speculated that Abbott would run for governor if Governor Perry chose not to seek a fourth term. Perry's announcement last week paved the way for Abbott's announcement in San Antonio on Sunday.

The only other Republican candidate who has announced his candidacy for Texas governor so far is former Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken.

Abbott will face Pauken and any other Republican challenger in a March 2014 primary.

No one has announced for governor on the democratic side, but State Senator Wendy Davis has said she's considering a run. She is the senator who successfully filibustered the abortion legislation during the first special session last month.

Davis hasn't said when she'll decide whether or not to run, but a democratic candidate hasn't won a statewide election since 1994, so whoever challenges the Republican nominee will have an uphill battle.

Abbott's candidacy affects other statewide races next year.

Both Rick Perry and Greg Abbott have held their current offices for more than 10 years, and both are each the longest-serving officeholders in those statewide positions.

So as Abbott runs for Perry's job, who's planning to run for attorney general?

The only certain candidate right now is Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman, who will announce his candidacy Monday.Other potential candidates include State Representative Dan Branch, State Senator Ken Paxton, Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed, and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Harriet O'Neill.

Another big statewide race will be for Lieutenant Governor. So far, in addition to the current Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, State Senator Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples of Palestine have all announced their candidacies.

All these candidates would face each other in March primaries. Run-offs, if needed, would likely be held in May.

Abbott is kicking off his gubernatorial campaign with a statewide tour to places that have been important in his life.

That includes a stop to Longview Tuesday, where he went to elementary school.

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