were all on the same phone line tonight.
I've blogged previously here (and linked to this) about Bell and the governor's race, and tonight's call disclosed no blockbusters. Here are the highlights:
-- July is the deadline for his decision to formally enter the gubernatorial tilt; among a few other reasons, that's when his wife Alison will complete her chemotherapy.
-- Bell thinks it will take anywhere from $10 to $20 million to wage the contest.
-- he hears the same names as the rest of us do bandied about as possible competitors in the Democratic primary (Tony Sanchez, John Sharp). Whether they enter the race or not figures to break along the lines of Kay Bailey Hutchison's decision to run against Rick Perry on the GOP side. (Both of those men probably have no appetite for a potential general campaign against her given their track records in elections past, so if she makes up her mind to go, you could expect them not to. That's my opinion, not Chris Bell's.)
-- Bell "will take seriously" a Kinky Friedman candidacy and believes that overall it would be a good thing. The Kinkster "if nothing else will get people laughing at Rick Perry; but it's that sad laughter; the kind you laugh when you know something's broken".
-- the hiring of Joe Trippi (and EchoDitto) reflects Bell's interest in cultivating the netroots, and that includes reaching younger Texans. That's reflected in his website, the podcasts, and tonight's conference call with the Lone Star blogosphere. Continuing in a familiar Trippi trend, Bell has scheduled House Parties for Sunday, June 12 -- the date celebrating the one-year anniversary of Bell's ethics complaint filed against Tom DeLay.
Expect more blogging on future conference calls with Bell and other Democratic candidates.
Update: Sean at The Agonist and Nate at Common Sense have their live postings up.