Quorum Report Daily Buzz Quorum Report Daily Buzz Login into the Quorum Report Subscribe toQuorum Report
Quorum Report Daily Buzz

December 2, 2014      4:27 PM

Kolkhorst looks to avoid runoff as contest to succeed Hegar in the Senate turns nasty

Five candidates running on a compressed schedule; Kolkhorst goes on defense in the final days as Gary Gates pummels her on illegal immigration

BRENHAM – The mad dash to succeed Comptroller-Elect Glenn Hegar in the Texas Senate has turned quite negative in the final days leading up to this Saturday’s special election. The perceived frontrunner, Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, has sought to create a sense of inevitability through high-profile endorsements and has focused her message on border security.

But a well-funded Republican rival, Rosenberg businessman Gary Gates, is working hard to turn illegal immigration into Kolkhorst’s worst issue and has touted the endorsement of former Congressman Ron Paul as a way to say he’s the “true conservative.” There are three other candidates, but none of them have campaigned for as long or spent nearly as much money as Kolkhorst and Gates.

And yes, there are serious dollars in play. Gates, so far, has spent $1.7 million to Kolkhorst’s roughly $915,000.

Hegar resigned his Senate seat about three weeks ago, on the last possible day he could do so in order to trigger an expedited special election. He’s trying to hand off the seat to Kolkhorst, a rural lawmaker who somehow has the blessing of the Republican establishment, some Tea Party figures, and a major newspaper editorial board. Hegar faced Gates years ago in a nasty GOP nomination fight for this Senate seat, so there’s little doubt that bad blood exists between the two to this day.

The stars seem to have aligned for Kolkhorst in a way that’s truly remarkable, according to some veteran Texas Capitol observers. To underscore their point, how often do you hear Midland oilman Tim Dunn’s spokesman Michael Quinn Sullivan agree with the Houston Chronicle Editorial Board? Well, in this case they agree Kolkhorst should be elected to the Texas Senate.

By Scott Braddock