Former Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia is quietly mulling whether to run against Sen. Mario Gallegos, although no decision has been made or is necessarily imminent. Garcia reported $751,601 cash on hand as of June 30; Gallegos reported $71,190 cash on hand. They both use Robert Jara as their consultant, so it will be interesting to watch this unfold.
Mike Hailey's Capitol Inside scored Jara's Campaign Strategies Inc. as the most influential Democratic political consultant in the state in 2008. (2010? Not so much.) Jara was also the fellow who drew the 2011 Houston city council map for district J, an Hispanic pickup opportunity district. And speaking of Hailey and CI (subs. req.) with respect to Gallegos and Garcia ...
Two longtime friends and allies could become adversaries if former Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia decides to challenge State Senator Mario Gallegos in the Democratic primary election in 2012.
Garcia - the first woman ever elected to the commissioners court in the state's largest county - has been weighing a possible bid for the Texas Senate but keeping the deliberations under wraps on what could turn out to be a very touchy subject in Hispanic political circles from Houston to Austin.
While Senate incumbents are usually big favorites in re-election campaigns, Garcia has the potential to be Gallegos' worst nightmare from a political perspective if she runs against him in next year's primary.
Garcia and Gallegos have been two of the most prominent forces in Latino politics in the state's largest metropolitan area for much of the past two decades. They've also been good friends as evidenced when the veteran legislator was sworn in by Garcia as "governor for the day" in 2007 when Gallegos had been serving as Senate pro tem.
And there's that troublesome money race mentioned again, the one that Sylvia leads 10-1.
Garcia would arguably be the toughest foe that Gallegos has faced at the polls in a 20-year legislative career. Garcia would not only match the incumbent in name ID, she'd enter a primary fight with a substantial edge in funding. The ex-commissioner had a $750,000 surplus in her campaign account at the end of last month while Gallegos reported cash on hand of $72,000 on June 30 - the lowest amount for a state senator in Texas.
My opinion? Best of good health in your retirement, Mario.
Update: Dan McClung, Jara's partner at Campaign Strategies, issued the following denial this afternoon.
Senator Mario Gallegos and former Commissioner Sylvia Garcia are longtime friends and strong political allies. They are also both decades-long clients and friends of this firm, and as its Senior Partner, I have spoken with both this morning and each has asked me to say to you and others that a race between them is not a possibility.