‘Grudge match’ emerges in Senate District 31

Texas Monthly editor/blogger Paul Burka has spilled the beans on the motive for the race that’s developing in Texas Senate District 31.

Turns out, according to Burka, that former Midland Mayor Mike Canon was recruited to run against Sen. Kel Seliger by Michael Quinn Sullivan, the tea party activist and political operator.


There’s plenty of bad blood between Seliger and Sullivan.

Seliger, indeed, has told me repeatedly over the years that he cannot stomach Sullivan’s hyper-conservative world view and the obstructionism he promotes within the Texas Legislature.

So, there you have it. My concern about Canon appears to be playing out. He’s running to Seliger’s right. I am guessing he’ll tack far to the right of the former Amarillo mayor.

Canon will want to do away with the Senate’s two-thirds rule, the one that requires 21 senators to approve any bill that goes to a vote. He’s likely to push hard to the right on issues such as immigration, state spending on public education and some environmental policies.

Seliger hardly has been a screaming lefty on all or any of these issues. If it’s true, as Burka suggests, that this challenge is the product of Sullivan’s personal antipathy toward Seliger, then the state — not to mention the West Texas Senate district Seliger represents — would be ill-served if voters turn against the incumbent.