Governor's race 'could be much closer than it seems now' - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Governor's race 'could be much closer than it seems now'

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott is not the only one with his eye on the governor's office. Another Texas Republican has announced his bid for governor and there's speculation a particular Democrat might toss her name into the mix, too.

Regardless of how everything plays out over the next year, the 2014 race is sure to be a historic one. To a crowd of cheering supporters, Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott announced his run for governor. The announcement came days after Governor Rick Perry announced he would not be seeking a fourth term. Tom Pauken, former chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission, has also thrown his name into the race.

"I think it's good. I think it's healthy. I like to see new leadership. So, I hope we have a lot of candidates for the openings and a lot of debates and voters get a real chance to see who they'd like to see serve in office," says Texas State Senator Kevin Eltife.

After last month's filibuster by state senator Wendy Davis gained national attention, there was speculation that Davis, too, might make a run for governor.

"If she waits, if she runs next year and loses, that's probably the end of her political career. She's got plenty of time to hone her skills and raise money and build a base," says the chairman of the Smith County Democratic Party.

Her candidacy is something democratic hopefuls say could be the first step in turning Republican Texas blue. However, many believe a Democrat being elected to Texas' top-spot is a long way off.

"If you still look at the overall voter makeup in Texas, we're still solidly Republican. I don't think that day has come yet. I think it is, though. I think Republicans need to start solving problems or we are going to turn blue," says Eltife.

Local Republicans say the real race is going to be in the Republican primary next spring. That's when Abbott and Pauken will face-off, along with any other Republican contenders.

"As time goes on, since the Republican party deals more with the party faithful, it will be probably... It could be a much closer race than might seem right now," says the chairman of the Smith County Republican Party.

It could be months before Senator Davis announces whether or not she'll make a run for governor. Since her filibuster, Davis' campaign has raised more than $900,000. No Democratic candidate has won a statewide election since 1994.

Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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