Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Pauken has announced he is dropping out of the 2014 governor’s race.
In letter sent to donors, the former Texas GOP Chairman Tom Pauken writes:
"The filing deadline is only days away, and I needed to be realistic about our prospects."
The announcement doesn’t come as a surprise to professor Jim Henson, who heads up the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin.
"There was never a clear place in the race for Pauken," Henson said. "He certainly had solid republican credentials, but it has been all but an anointment for Greg Abbott."
"Abbott had an enormous amount of money and had done a lot of the ground going into to this race to shore up all Republican constituents he needed and there was just no oxygen for Pauken to breath in this race," Henson said.
At the time Pauken announced his candidacy, he listed a set of goals he would need to achieve before officials filing: One was to collect over $2 million in campaign donations and another was to build a statewide campaign and develop a successful social media presence online.
According to his campaign, neither one of those happened.
Reacting to the news of Pauken's departure, gubernatorial frontrunner Attorney General Greg Abbott wrote:
"As a Vietnam veteran, a member of the Reagan administration, former chairman of the Republican Party of Texas and head of the Texas Workforce Commission, Tom has dedicated his career to public service and advancing conservatism. Tom has been an insightful and effective voice for common-sense solutions in Texas. In the race for governor, Tom offered thoughtful ideas in areas such as vocational education and workforce development. I thank him for his valuable contributions to the race, and I look forward to working together with him to build an even better Texas."
Henson said people watching the race are already watching the general election.
"Attorney General Abbott’s policy program has clearly been aimed at building at an already established Republican foundation and getting ready for the general election," Henson said. "Wendy Davis has no meaningful opposition”
Pauken's departure leaves radio-personality Lisa Fritsch, secessionist Larry Kilgore, former Univision personality Miriam Martinez and Attorney Gerneral Greg Abbott vying to be the Republican candidate during the March primary.