Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams (R) officially announced his candidacy for Senate on Thursday morning in an event with the Texas Tribune. He said he’s a candidate voters can relate to.
"They're looking for someone they trust, someone they feel is like them, and someone they feel will fight for them,” Williams said, according to the Tribune’s live blog.
Williams began running for Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s seat in 2008 when she was running for governor and had planned to step down from the Senate. When Hutchison lost the gubernatorial primary and decided to stay in the Senate, Williams and others backed off. Since her announcement earlier this month that she wouldn’t run for re-election after all, the Republican primary is again in full swing.
The crowded field includes Williams' fellow Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones and former Secretary of State Roger Williams.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, former Solicitor General Ted Cruz and Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert are also considering the race.
Williams was first appointed to the three-member Railroad Commission of Texas in January 1999 and won election to finish the term in November 2000. He won election to full six-year terms in 2002 and 2008. He was the first African-American elected to the commission, according to his official biography. Earlier this week he announced he would step down from the commission in April to pursue the Senate race full time.
Williams, a lawyer, has held a number of government positions, his biography explains. President George H.W. Bush appointed him to positions at the Department of Education and Department of the Treasury, and George W. Bush was the one who originally appointed Williams to the Railroad Commission.
The elder Bush endorsed Roger Williams for the Senate seat on Jan. 17.
Roll Call Politics rates this race Safe Republican.