Bell Says Shifting Demographics Could Make It A Very Democratic Year

July 21, 2008

Former gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell has officially joined the growing list of candidates to replace former state senator Kyle Janek in the Texas Senate District 17 seat. Bell, a Democrat, says a shift in demographics gives him an ‘extraordinarily’ good chance to win the traditionally Republican seat.

Bell will join three Republicans on the Nov. 4 ballot – businessman and former George H.W. Bush Administration appointee Austen Furse, a West University Place resident, Former Harris County felony court judge Joan Huffman, a Southside Place resident, and Harris County Republican precinct chair Grant Harpold.

“There’s been a demographic shift in some very key portions of the district,” said Bell. It is shaping up to be a very democratic year.”

Bell’s name was brought up often as a possible candidate early on, but it took a while to Bell to confirm that he was running.

“I was always interested, when the idea was first introduced, because of the issues,” said Bell. “Obviously, it is not the same as the governor’s, but the issues are the same. The question became whether it could work from a logistical standpoint since it wasn’t what I was planning to do…I always thought it was a great opportunity, but I’ve learned during my time in politics that all decisions should be given a lot of thought.”

Bell says he is stressing the same issues he stressed during his run for governor – public school education, ethics reform and access to healthcare.

“I am not saying the campaign will be limited to just those issues, but I think those are areas deserving the most attention,” said Bell. “I think we went a long way towards furthering the debate on those issues in 2006. To have the opportunity to go to the Senate and do something about it I find pretty appealing.”

Bell believes he has an advantage in the district, coming into the race with “much higher name identification” than the other candidates.

“Will it be easy? No,” said Bell. “We have a lot of work to do, and we plan to do everything, but it wasn’t lost on me that I would have a significant advantage.”

Bell, a Braes Heights resident, is an attorney with Patton Boggs, a law firm registered to lobby in Washington, D.C. Fifty percent of the votes will win the seat outright for Bell. If he does not garner 50 percent, there will be a runoff between the top two vote getters.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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