Just a few days after the election, speculation about 2014 and 2016 has already ramped up in Texas.
On Thursday, Gov. Rick Perry again drew attention to his his future political plans when he said he still hadn't ruled out another run for president in four years.
"I think we said the door was going to be left open," he told reporters at the Capitol. "But there is a lot of work that has to be done. 2016 is multiple lifetimes away."
But Perry, who may also run again for governor in 2014, wasn't the only Texan whose plans drew scrutiny this week. As The New Republic reported, George P. Bush, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and nephew of former President George W. Bush, filed paperwork on Wednesday with the Texas Ethics Commission, presumably to run for local or statewide office.
The filing didn't indicate which office Bush, a Republican who lives in Fort Worth, would seek, but rumors have pointed to Texas land commissioner or attorney general.
Talk of Texans' political ambitions comes as the GOP grapples with the big losses it suffered across the nation — if not in Texas — on Tuesday. The discussion has largely centered on how Republicans should appeal to minorities, namely Hispanics — 70 percent of whom voted for President Barack Obama, according to most exit polls.
San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, another Texan often pegged as a likely future statewide political candidate, said Thursday on CNN that rapidly changing demographics would turn Texas into a swing state within the next decade.
"I think when you have that groundwork and when you have the right candidates to excite folks, then you're going to start to see progress," said Castro, a Democrat. "And within the next six to eight years, I believe that Texas will at least be a purple state, if not a blue state."
The mayor's brother, Joaquin Castro, a San Antonio Democrat who was elected to Congress on Tuesday, echoed his brother's comments in an appearance Thursday on MSNBC.
"The fact is, Latinos are part of the American family, and oftentimes these policies make Latinos feel as if they’re not accepted in the Republican Party," Castro said. "So, you know, I hope they find a solution to it and that they’re able to be more accommodating — not only in tone, and that’s been mentioned several times, but actually in substance."
- R.W. Bray, the Republican who lost to the late state Sen. Mario Gallegos on Tuesday, says he'll run again for the seat in a special election to be called by Gov. Rick Perry, according to the Houston Chronicle. Gallegos, a Houston Democrat, died last month from complications due to a liver transplant, but his name remained on the ballot on Tuesday. State Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston — who was reportedly Gallegos' choice to replace him — has said she'll run for the seat, but she may face Democratic opposition from former Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia.
- State Rep. Bryan Hughes, the Mineola Republican attempting to oust Joe Straus as speaker of the House, said Thursday that he would change the rules of the chamber to decentralize power if he is elected. In a letter to new and returning House members, Hughes wrote that he would increase the number of seniority seats on committees and make all committees subject to seniority appointments, among other changes.
- In the latest turn in the state's long-running battle with Planned Parenthood over the fate of the state's Women's Health Program, a state district judge ruled Thursday that Texas can't boot Planned Parenthood from the program — for now. The judge approved a temporary injunction to delay the state’s implementation of the so-called Affiliate Ban Rule, which prohibits organizations that have the same name as abortion providers from participating in the program.
"I think we can have immigration reform. Some policies we’ve advocated with, for instance, is doing away with the lottery and increasing the cap on high-skilled worker visas." — U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, on the prospect of Congress taking up comprehensive immigration reform next year