When the staffers are the story...

...their candidates aren't usually happy. Jason Embry at the Statesman has the scoop:

Strayhorn spokesman Mark Sanders said he told Alison Bell that "there would be support for him" if Chris Bell ran to succeed Strayhorn as comptroller. Sanders said that he and Alison Bell have known each other since they worked on a campaign together 15 years ago and that he wanted to advise his longtime friends that they could not win the governor's race.

Sanders said that the call was not prompted by Strayhorn or any campaign donors and that he was not trying to clear the Democratic field for Strayhorn to switch parties.


Bell said it is not unusual for Sanders and his wife to talk.

"They did talk last week, and he mentioned the fact that if I were to exit the governor's race and run for comptroller, he thought there would be some support for me from some unnamed individuals," said Bell, a former congressman from Houston. "And obviously since that was the gist of the conversation, I didn't take it the least bit seriously."

Sanders, who worked for 2002 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tony Sanchez, said he does not think that Bell can win the governor's race because the state so strongly favors Republicans. "A Democrat will not win in 2006," Sanders said.

Asked why the same logic did not apply to the comptroller's race, in which Republican Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs has been running for months, Sanders said he knew only that Bell could not win the governor's race.

Sanders was not the only operative who called a would-be adversary. Bell spokesman Jason Stanford called Luis Saenz, Perry's campaign director, and told him about the Sanders call.

"Luis and I talk every once in awhile, trying to figure out what in God's name (Strayhorn) is going to do, and we've learned through observation that applying logic is an ineffective means of analyzing her," Stanford said. "He and I have a gentlemen's agreement to campaign aboveboard and do whatever we can to beat each other's boss."

Posted by Evan @ 12/21/05 09:59 AM


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