I wonder if this is going to be a repeat of the 1980 race, when Brazos County had a powerful state senator who was defeated by an upstart. Bill Moore, known as “The Bull of the Brazos,” was up for reelection that year. Moore was one of the most powerful state senators, the chairman of State Affairs and a member of the budget conference committee. He was challenged in the Democratic primary by Kent Caperton, a political unknown. But Moore hadn’t had a race in 14 years, and he hadn’t worked the district, and Caperton beat him.
Steve Ogden was first elected to the Senate in 1996. He has never had a contested primary since that time. I didn’t check for general election opponents, since the district is safely Republican. Ogden succeeded Teel Bivins as chairman of Senate Finance in 2005. (This sentence is a correction to a previous version). Chairmen of Finance don’t spend a lot of time knocking on doors. I bet it’s been years since Ogden has worked his district.
I talked to Ben Bius today at Republican party headquarters. He said that he is in the race to stay. He characterized Ogden’s decision as, “He’s coming back to fix the budget deficit he created.” He pointed out that he has knocked on 15,000 doors in Williamson County, and he has been running radio spots.
Ogden raised no money in the reporting period that ended June 30. He does have $737,000 cash on hand. That is not a lot of money for a contested Senate primary.
I’m not saying that Ogden is going to lose. I am saying that he is starting late and may not be prepared for a contested primary race, one that he didn’t even appear to be interested in entering until the last week or two. This chain of events starting with Gattis’s departure has been very strange. Ogden is going to have to rouse himself to make a race for a seat he didn’t really want.