So long, Mme. Comptroller

Susan Combs announcement that she’s leaving public office serves to illustrate one of the consequences of electing all of Texas’s statewide constitutional officeholders at the same time.

Combs said she won’t seek re-election as Texas comptroller of public accounts. She had planned to run for lieutenant governor – another of those constitutional offices – in 2014, but had those hopes dashed when the guy who holds the office, David Dewhurst, said he plans to seeks re-election.

Thus, Combs has decided she’s had enough of being the state’s bean counter in chief.

I can’t blame her, although I actually enjoyed talking to her during the time I was working in daily journalism. She’s smart, clever, personable, well-educated and well-versed on public policy.

She also ought to consider taking her act on the road when she’s all done in January 2015.

But this idea of electing everyone at once does bring into play the waiting game that occurs every four years. When one of those folks decides either to retire or seek another office, that usually sets in motion a chain reaction. Other statewide officeholders start jockeying to run for the office that’s being vacated. An incumbent staying put tends to freeze the competition in place.

This coming year might be different. Republican Gov. Rick Perry hasn’t yet announced whether he’s running for re-election. Meanwhile, Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott has all but announced his candidacy for governor. I’m still thinking he might know something about the governor’s plans – which likely mean he won’t seek another term in 2014.

All this drama does create a strange and somewhat exciting – for the participants, at least – game of Musical Chairs.

Cue the music.

Leave a Reply