The significance of his decision is not only that he has passed on the governor’s race. It is that he will not be a candidate for attorney general – the office he sought in 2002 and was said to have been considering this year. This increases the likelihood that the Democrats will not field a competitive candidate for an open office whose occupant will sit on the Legislative Redistricting Board.
The situation is getting very serious for Democrats. They have no candidates who are willing to run for high state office, except possibly Ronnie Earle, whose nomination would lead to one of the all-time wipeouts in Texas political history. They are going to have to fall back on the strategy of trying to win a majority in the House of Representatives and maybe pick up a congressional seat here and there. It is impossible to predict what the political climate will be like a year from now, but if it is anything like what it is at this stage of the political cycle, Democrats are more likely to lose seats in the state House than gain – especially since 2011 is a redistricting year, and the process will surely be controlled by Republicans – and this election could set the Democrats back by a full decade. I see no signs of life.