If I were David Dewhurst, I would...
... run for governor.
Is he likely to win? Not really, no. Is he likely to be re-elected as lieutenant governor? Possibly, maybe.
But Dewhurst running for Lt Gov re-election makes no sense. What's the end game to getting re-elected? If things play out the way they stand now, Governor Abbott is likely to serve until 2023, at which time David Dewhurst would be 78. That means Lite Governor Dewhurst would find it awfully hard to become Governor Dewhurst, if he even wanted to at that point. And heck, Abbott might pull a Rick Perry and stick around for 3 and a half terms. He's certainly waited in line long enough that he might not want to leave after two terms.
Plus there's always the outside chance that the Texas Senate takes away the Dew's power as Lite Guv. Not likely...but not zero, either. And even if they leave his powers untouched, there is definitely an element of soft power to being Lite Guv which ebbs and flow, but which has often ebbed for Dewhurst as the legislative session dragged on.
So can he win a Lite Guv race? I am on the record that Dewhurst can. Remember this: right now, everyone running for Lite Guv (and against Dewhurst) endorsed his record as lieutenant governor. But it's definitely possible that he loses. It might even be more than 50%. Remember also this: Dewhurst NEVER cracked 45% in his bid to the Senator.* Dewhurst's loss had nothing to do with when the primary date was held,** and everything to do with the fact that he couldn't convince a majority of people to vote for him AT ANY TIME even when the voters had no clue who was running against him.
If Dewhurst is going to win, he is going to need to solve the 45% problem. That fact doesn't change whether he runs for Lite Guv or Guv.
And that is why he should run for governor. He has the money to run, so why not give it a shot? Nobody grows up dreaming of being Lt Gov for 20 years. Dew won't be the favorite, so he can let loose and relax. He can run as the conservative that he claimed that he was in 2012. He can run on a couple simple ideas: slash the higher ed bureaucracy so middle-class kids graduate without crushing debt, reform the tax system, and promote school choice so poor kids in the city can have a shot at a decent life. With that platform, he'd keep a good chunk of the moderates and win a bunch of conservatives. He'd give Abbott a run for his money. It'd be good for Abbott, and it'd be good for Texas to have a debate about the future of the best place on earth.
Do I think Dewhurst will take my advice? Of course not. There' s a history of Dewhurst ignoring good advice.
* Except in some bogus polls that only some gullible journalists bought because it fit their mistaken preconception of the race.
** Despite warnings of very low turnout in a late July runoff, there was negligible dropoff.
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