- Trump dominates while Perry may not make debate cut
- Reports: Paxton Indicted by Collin County Grand Jury
- Scrutiny Of Latest Round Of Hillary Clinton Emails Begins
- DPS Director Hammered At Hearing On Bland Case
- Sandra Bland's Arrest, Death Takes Stage At Texas Capitol
- Planned Parenthood Skips 'Political' Texas Senate Hearing
- Court of appeals drops one charge against former Governor Rick Perry
- Trump Tours Texas-Mexico Border
- Kerry Defends Iran Nuclear Deal
- Trump Says Hispanics Love Him
- George Bush Senior Out Of ME. Hospital After Fall
- Abbott Accosted By Traveler Angered Over Gay-Marriage Stance
- Obama Challenges Critics Of Iran Nuclear Deal
- Abbott Orders Investigation Of Use Of Tissue From Abortions
- Local Opponents Of Gay Marriage Vow To Fight On
- Louisiana Gov. Jindal ready to jump into 2016 presidential race
- Abbott Signs Bill To Limit Pollution Lawsuits
- Young Protester Demands Veto Of Texas Budget Measure
- Commissioner To Leave HHSC As Deputy Takes Over
- Clinton: GOP Trying To Make It Difficult For People To Vote
- Perry Announces Presidential Run
- Travis County Gears Up To Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses
- Like Perry, Abbott Says He'll Leave Texas To Lure Businesses
- Texas Legislature Ends 2015 Session
- Abbott: Texas Won't Legalize Medicinal Or Recreational Pot
- Texas Legislature Ends 2015 Session
- 'Open Carry' Bill Heads To Gov. Abbott
- Austin's Top Cop Says Governor Needs To Step In On Open Carry
- Texas Senate Debating Major Open Carry Handgun Bill
- Texas House OKs Letting Clergy Refuse To Marry Gay Couples
- COA Spends $70K On Austin Code Ad Campaign
- Texas Senate Panel Passes Restrictions On Teen Abortions
- Perry Set To Announce Presidential Bid June 4 In Dallas
- Governor Abbott Signs Kari's Law for better 911 Access
- Texas Anti-Gay Marriage Bill In Limbo With Time Running Out
- House OKs Bill Restricting Minors Seeking Abortions
- Austin City Council Denounces Stereotypes In Training Session
- Supreme Court Rules Police Can't Extend Traffic Stops
- Senate Backs Allowing Pastors To Refuse To Marry Same-Sex Couples
- East Austin Could Get Luxury Golf Course
- Committee Votes Against Requiring Scrubbers For BBQ Food Trucks/Restaurants
- Waste Of Time: Texas House Votes To Keep Daylight Savings
- Senate Gives High Sign To Limited Medical Marijuana
- Pot Legalization Bill Clears House Panel
- School Shooting Victims, Families Voice Against Campus Carry
- Petition May Put Fluoridation Before San Marcos Voters
- Senate Votes To Keep Abbott Promise, Scrap Perry Tech Fund
- Abbott at Rally for Charter Schools at Capitol
- Texas House Approves Slicing State Sales Taxes For 1st Time
- Texas House Approves Licensed Open Carry Of Handguns
Texas Democrats Need More Than Davis In 2014
Updated: Monday, September 23 2013, 11:52 AM CDT
by Ross Ramsey, Texas Tribune
Leticia Van de Putte, a Democratic state senator from San Antonio, might be part of the answer to the second question her party’s activists are asking these days.
The first question — will Wendy run? — will be answered Oct. 3 when state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, announces her decision on whether to run for governor or seek re-election.
The second, and this is where Van de Putte enters the conversation, is: Who else might be on the Democratic ticket?
If there is a line for those jobs, it’s not visible. Party leaders have put their hopes in Davis’ care and in the meantime have talked to candidates who might fill out the ballot behind her. Candidates like Van de Putte.
She is a midterm senator, meaning she could run for statewide office in 2014 without much risk. A win would put her in a new office. A loss would leave her where she is now.
Van de Putte has never run for statewide office, but her experience as a state lawmaker and her role in the drama that lit up the state’s Democrats this year put her on the list of potential candidates.
Anyone urging her to do this would point out that her gender could play well in a year when the Democrats are accusing the Republicans of conducting a war on women. The senator punctuated June’s dramatic debate over an abortion bill when she broke through a wall of men’s voices to say, "At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?"
That's a decent reduction of Democrats’ objections to that legislation and of that day’s debate and filibuster. And in the context of the 2014 election, it makes Van de Putte a natural recruit for the ticket that will probably be headed by Davis, who shot to political stardom that same day.
There's a history argument. Prospective candidate Van de Putte would not be the first Latina to run for the lieutenant governor's office — Linda Chavez-Thompson, a union leader, ran on the Democratic ticket in 2010 — but the office has never been occupied by a woman or a Hispanic.
The biggest hurdles are obvious. Democrats haven’t won in statewide Texas elections for years. Their organization around the state withered over the last two decades, and current efforts to revive it — Battleground Texas is a prominent example — haven't been around long enough to establish deep roots.
At the same time, political people in Texas saw something in June, when social media kicked liberals and progressives into a gear they hadn’t tried in several years. Democrats are hoping they can keep that going throughout a campaign next year.
"I am very supportive of the Democratic Party and of my friend, Wendy, but if I put my name in, it’s not just because I want to help out the team," Van de Putte said. "If I put my name on the ballot, I would only do that if I was convinced that there is a way to win. It’s just not in my nature to do something just to place or show."
She said a competitive Republican primary might force those contestants to what she called "the very extreme right," and that could, in turn, create an opening for a moderate Democrat to appeal to independents and moderate Republicans who generally vote for Republican candidates.
That's her version, by the way; Republicans are already calling her a "liberal Democrat," giving her a little warning of what would be ahead in a general election fight.
Van de Putte is also thinking hard about what a run might mean for her family, which has had a remarkably rough year. An infant grandson died unexpectedly in May. Her father died in an automobile accident in June. Her mother-in-law died last week. Her mother was in a hospital bed as Van de Putte fielded calls last week on her future political plans.
How would she decide today?
"I would probably say my family has been through way too much in too short a time," Van de Putte said. "We’re going to take a week or so and really look at it. It’s got to be doable, and it’s got to be a commitment from my family."
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2013/09/23/it-takes-more-one-candidate-make-ticket/.