Well yesterday I told you that Gramm was going to resign from the Senate so Perry could appoint Tony Garza to the Senate. Well Phil chose Bonilla and Perry has agreed.
Bonilla will be appointed interim Senator and a special election will be held. I doubt that Dewhurst will stay on the sidelines. The Senate is too big of a prize and it comes around too infrequently. Dewhurst will run in the special election and will probably beat Bonilla. The only way that Dewhurst will not run is if he is made an offer by little George that he cannot refuse.
Now here is where Tony Sanchez comes in. Tony withdraws from the governor's race and runs for the Senate. It just takes a little retooling and he is ready to go. He has the big money to wipe out Bonilla. I figure that the Republicans will spend about $20 million to support Bonilla but the cannot do it twice. So they have to spend it to beat Dewhurst or they have to buy off Dewhurst and spend it to beat Sanchez. But Sanchez can up the anti and beat Bonilla.
Little George cannot lose Gramm's seat to a Democrat. So he may have to let Perry appoint Bonilla and let Dewhurst run. In that case, Dewhurst will win because the Republicans will not spend $20 million to beat Dewhurst and another $20 million to beat Sanchez.
It seems to me that if Tony will run for the Senate, he can take it. The only way he will not take it is if Dewhurst up'd the anti to about $100 million and out bid Tony. That would set up the scenario I suggested yesterday; a $200 million Senate race.
Regardless of what the Republicans do, Tony needs to be in the Senate race. No one else has the money in the Democratic Party to out spend the Republicans.
Next, the Democrats need to tell Marty to get out of the governor's race because of the negative baggage of his lies and because of the smell of Ben (the Pariah) Barnes on him. Mattox after losing to Ann Richards in the gubernatorial primary in 1990, to Fisher in the Senate primary in 1994, and to John Cornyn in the general election for attorney general in 1998, needs to stay out of the governors race.
The party needs to get behind WorldPeace who can reach out to the Blacks (who are mad as hell right now at the Hispanic emphasis in the party) and the women because of WorldPeace's commitment to allocate half of his appointments as governor to them (thus helping Republican women to cross party lines to vote for WorldPeace). As I said last week, I will support Tony Sanchez for Senate. With mutual support between Sanchez and WorldPeace in the Senate and Gubernatorial races, the Party will come together and win both races in 2002.
All this needs to happen within a week so that the campaigns can begin immediately. This will give WorldPeace fourteen months to work on Perry. There is no time to waste. The Republicans are moving very quickly. There is no time for a primary fight in the governor's race. And no Democrat is going to challenge Tony's money in the Senate race.
The only Democratic hope for the Senate is Tony Sanchez.
The next governor of Texas
September 6, 2001
Texas Gov. Rick Perry met privately with President Bush on Wednesday to discuss how Republicans can hold onto the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Phil Gramm.
One approach under consideration is to find an inducement for Gramm to resign now. Then Perry could appoint U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-San Antonio, to the seat in an effort to avoid a bloody GOP nominating contest, according to four sources close to Perry and Bush.
If Gramm resigned now, Perry would appoint an interim replacement and call a special election to fill out the term. That election would be open to all candidates, without a party primary, and Republicans hope that the presence of a GOP incumbent -- Perry's appointee -- would discourage other Republicans from running.
The sources told the Houston Chronicle that Gramm did not want to quit without some assurance that a good job was awaiting him. He also wanted a say in naming his successor.
The meeting between Perry and Bush occurred at the White House just prior to Bush's first state dinner, with Mexican President Vicente Fox.
Gramm announced Tuesday that he would not seek re-election next year, setting off a scramble among possible successors.
But Republican leaders are worried that a divisive GOP primary fight could improve the chances for a Democrat to win the Texas seat and tip the balance of power in the Senate farther away from the Republican majority that Bush needs to pursue his agenda.
Democrats now control the Senate 50-49. One senator is an independent.
The meeting between Bush and Perry sidelined at least two potential Republican candidates for Senate -- Attorney General John Cornyn and Land Commissioner David Dewhurst.
Sources said they were waiting to see if a deal was cut with Gramm before entering the Senate race.
One source said presidential political adviser Karl Rove had asked Cornyn several weeks ago to make the race if Gramm simply retired at the end of his term rather than resigning.
Bush and Rove recruited Cornyn to run for attorney general in 1998.
But Cornyn faces a major obstacle in that Dewhurst is a millionaire who could self-finance a primary race.
High-technology lawyer Ed Cunningham is the only Democratic candidate who has announced for the Senate race. Former Attorney General Dan Morales and Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk are considering entering the Democratic primary.
While either Cornyn or Dewhurst would be acceptable to many Republicans, the sources said some party leaders believe a Hispanic candidate high on the ticket would demonstrate diversity -- especially if Laredo millionaire Tony Sanchez is successful in his bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
Sanchez has caused concern among Republicans because of his ability to self-finance a race for governor.
Sanchez faces two Democratic primary opponents, Marty Akins and John WorldPeace.
Perry spokesman Kathy Walt confirmed that the governor met with Bush, but said she did not know the topic of the meeting.
"I know the governor was scheduled to meet very briefly with the president. That was set up before the Gramm announcement," she said.
Walt said discussions between Bush and Perry are not extraordinary.
"They speak frequently on the phone," she said.
A presidential spokesman confirmed the meeting but said it was a social meeting with no agenda.
Gramm spokesman Larry Neal said the senator was unaware of any meetings to discuss his possible early resignation.
Neal said Gramm made it clear that he would not get involved in the Republican primary to pick his successor.
When Gramm announced his retirement Tuesday he said he planned to serve through next year to complete his third, six-year term.
But he did not rule out a possible early departure.
There has been much speculation that Gramm might want the job of Texas A&M University president.
But a search committee is not scheduled to complete its examination of candidates until next year.
The four sources said Gramm would have agreed to resign two weeks ago if he and Perry could have agreed on his successor.
Perry favored Texas Railroad Commissioner Tony Garza, while Gramm favored Bonilla, the sources said. Perry is now agreeable to appointing Bonilla.
"So far, he (Gramm) is still saying no," a source said.
Garza angered the Republican-oriented Texas oil industry by pushing tougher regulations to handle oil spills. The sources said Garza also angered the Bush administration by turning down an offered appointment as the U.S. liaison to the Organization of American States because he hoped for an appointment as ambassador to Mexico.
Garza served as secretary of state when Bush was governor, and was Texas' informal ambassador to Mexico.
The sources said Gramm favored Bonilla because he has worked with the San Antonio Republican in Congress.
The last special election for U.S. Senate was held in 1993 when Gov. Ann Richards appointed Bob Krueger to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Lloyd Bentsen.
Krueger lost a special election runoff to Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison.