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Ambitious Texas Republicans Had Better Get Organized for Expensive Federal Races

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Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Gohmert, above, is one of the top names mentioned as a would-be GOP Senate candidate from the House delegation. The others are McCaul and Hensarling.

The most frequently mentioned rising Republican is state Rep. James White of East Texas. Location and timing may be a problem, though. He’s in the 36th District, where an open-seat race is happening this cycle to replace outgoing Rep. Steve Stockman. The new incumbent will likely be young, so White may have to wait a while for that seat to open up.

Next to White, the most oft-mentioned political talent is state Rep. Van Taylor, who could one day follow Rep. Sam Johnson in representing the 3rd District.

In the 4th District, 90-year-old Rep. Ralph M. Hall is in a primary runoff fight against attorney John Ratcliffe. If Ratcliffe comes up short, his self-funded campaign could do much to build his name identification for a future bid in northeast Texas. But at least one Hall loyalist, Republican strategist Ed Valentine, warned Ratcliffe of the political repercussions of challenging a popular incumbent. National operatives named state Rep. Scott Turner as a possible candidate, should the seat open up next cycle or beyond.

Elsewhere, Fort Worth Republican Konni Burton is impressing operatives with her bid to replace outgoing Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis. Along with state Rep. Craig Goldman and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, she is mentioned as someone who could succeed Rep. Kay Granger one day. Operatives named state Rep. Matt Krause as another potential Granger successor, but Rep. Michael C. Burgess’ 26th District could be a better geographic fit.

Rep. Pete Sessions’ wealthy Dallas-based 32nd District has a deep well of political talent. The most frequently mentioned name was state Rep. Jason Villalba. Tea party activist Katrina Pierson, who lost mightily to Sessions in the March 4 primary, is viewed by some as a future talent. But a number of other Republicans were not impressed with her ability to run a campaign. Veteran Patrick George, the son of a former state legislator, was also mentioned as a Dallas Republican to watch.

Numerous Republicans pointed to state Rep. Charles Perry as a contender to follow in Rep. Randy Neugebauer’s 19th District footsteps, while another state representative, Lyle Larson, was floated as a potential successor to Rep. Lamar Smith in the 21st District. U.S. Marine Justin Yarborough could also run for Smith’s seat.

State Rep. Jason Isaac could one day succeed Rep. Roger Williams in the 25th District. State Reps. Larry Gonzales and Tony Dale could one day serve in Rep. John Carter’s nearby 31st District.

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