Democrats Labeled Texas A “Key Target” For 2018, But Still Can’t Recruit Serious Gov Candidate

Democrats find themselves at a disadvantage less than a year away from Election Day.

Despite having labeled Texas as a “key target” for 2018, Democrats still can’t find a serious candidate to run in the gubernatorial election. At a panel discussion last weekend, former Democrat Housing Secretary Julian Castro and failed 2014 Democrat gubernatorial nominee Wendy Davis lamented their Party’s inability to find a candidate, calling it a “tough cycle” because “no one’s stepping forward.” The pair also both claimed that they were “99 percent” sure that they would not enter the race themselves, leaving Democrats with zero top-tier candidates willing to run next year. As Governor Greg Abbott continues to show strong and determined leadership, expanding opportunity and creating jobs at a record pace in the Lone Star State, Democrats find themselves at a disadvantage less than a year away from Election Day.

With 36 days until the filing deadline for Texas’ 2018 primaries, concerns about Democrats’ statewide ticket are coming into public view.

Party officials have insisted they’re talking to a number of potential contenders, but the clock is ticking: Filing for the 2018 primaries begins in less than a week — Saturday — and ends a month later. Democrats currently have a serious U.S. Senate hopeful in Beto O’Rourke, an El Paso congressman, but the rest of their statewide ticket is less clear — particularly who will challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

At a panel discussion Sunday morning in Austin, former U.S. Housing Secretary Julián Castro and Wendy Davis, the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nominee, acknowledged their party’s  difficult situation heading into 2018.

‘I agree with you,’ Castro said when the moderator, Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith, brought up the party’s lack of statewide contenders. ‘It has been a tough cycle to recruit candidates.’

Asked whether she would run for governor again next year, Davis replied, ‘I rule it out 99 percent.’ Pressed on why she would not rule it out entirely, she responded, ‘Because no one’s stepping forward.’

As for Castro, the former San Antonio mayor, months ago he ruled out running statewide in 2018. His twin brother, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio, has been encouraged to mount a gubernatorial campaign, but he has said he plans to run for re-election to the U.S. House in 2018…

Asked Sunday if Joaquin Castro will run for governor, Julián Castro said he will not but noted ‘you probably have to ask him.’

‘I can only rule him out 99 percent,’ Julián Castro said with a laugh…

As Democrats sort out their statewide lineup, Abbott’s campaign has been revving up in more ways than one. He has already set his sights on winning a bigger share of the Hispanic vote in 2018 — he got 44 percent in 2014 — a topic that came up early on in Sunday’s discussion, held at a conference for Voto Latino, a group aiming to increase Latino involvement in politics.