Wendy Davis still hasn't declared whether or not she plans to run for Governor. If she does, she'll face a formidable challenge in Attorney General Greg Abbott, Rick Perry's all-but-anointed successor. If she doesn't, she faces a challenge that's almost as formidable, winning re-election in a Republican-leaning district where she barely eked out a victory in November.
Regardless of what Davis decides, Republicans are salivating at the prospect of taking her Senate seat. So far, three main candidates have emerged on the right (The Dallas Morning News has a roundup of Democrats who may be lining up in case she makes the leap). They are:
Mark Shelton Shelton never really ended his bid to unseat Davis. Despite a narrow loss in November in last year's nastiest and most expensive legislative race (he demanded she be investigated for "possible criminal activity" over ethics violations and accused her of "protect[ing] child molesters and sexual predators"; she blasted him for refusing to help rape victims), Shelton was ready to jump back into the fray two months later when he learned Davis had drawn the post-redistricting short straw that reduced her four-year term to two.
So District 10 voters are already well-acquainted with Shelton, but here's a quick review. He's a two-term state representative and pediatrician at Cook's Children's Hospital in Fort Worth (his campaign materials never fail to feature a photo of him in his doctor's coat). In 2012, his fiscal conservatism earned the endorsement of the Northeast Tarrant Tea Party, though he's unlikely to get their nod in 2014 (see below).
That doesn't mean that Shelton is ceding the ultra-conservative vote. Last month, he penned a lengthy blog post offering his "response to some troubling events," including the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions and the Voting Rights Act and, naturally, Wendy Davis' abortion filibuster. Referring to his own 31-year union as a "Blessed Christian Marriage," he criticized the DOMA decision as "smug and intolerant." He praised the court's ruling that Article 4 of the VRA is unconstitutional and Attorney General Greg Abbott's decision to immediately implement the state's voter ID law ("of which I am proud to have been a co-author") but wrung his hands over Democrats' continuing resistance to the measure. "Of note, we had to show a photo ID to obtain a 3-day out of state fishing license. Too bad an election wasn't going on at that time, as I probably could have voted!"
And then there was the filibuster, which "was really ALL ABOUT WENDY DAVIS," he writes. "She, with her followers, all far left democrats and President Obama, believe in taxpayers funding of abortion and late term abortion. Period. Wendy Davis basically filibustered for a lower standard of care for women having abortions than for other surgical procedures."
Konni Burton Burton is the reason why Shelton probably won't get the Tea Party stamp of approval this time around. The wedding consultant is a dedicated NE Tarrant Tea Party activist who served as its vice president. Just before the most recent legislative session, she was also appointed to Senator Dan Patrick's Tea Party Caucus Advisory Committee.
Given that, her list of legislative priorities is unsurprising: minimal government; school choice; fighting Obamacare; fighting Planned Parenthood; gun rights; protection of "our Texas values of life and the family unit." She expounds upon that last point in an online campaign video released on Wednesday:
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It also doesn't come as much of a surprise that she prominently touts a passing name-drop by Senator Ted Cruz and the endorsement of former GOP chair and Right Wing Watch regular Cathie Adams. "Konni's dedication to God, family and country provides a stark contrast to the incumbent's extremist views."
Mark Skinner A good deal of what you need to know about Mark Skinner is contained in his campaign slogan, which is plastered on the banner that sits at the top of his website: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
Skinner, a commercial real estate broker and former member of the Colleyville City Council, doesn't really delve into his definition of "evil" -- his campaign blog is an unremarkable collection of conservative boilerplate -- but as someone running a grassroots campaign for the Texas legislature, he doesn't really have to.
"We are fighting to unseat Wendy Davis so the values of Tarrant County, not Washington DC, will be reflected in Austin," he writes. "Given the attention lavished by left leaning media, it will require a substantial campaign to accomplish our objective."