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Remember Ronnie Earle? He was the Travis County District Attorney who indicted Tom DeLay back in 2004.

Former Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle inched closer to seeking the Democratic nomination for governor Thursday when he filed a one-page form with the Texas Ethics Commission designating himself as his campaign treasurer.

Earle did not state on the form which office he would seek but said in an interview, "I have made no decision, and I won't for a while, but if I run, it will probably be for governor."

Designating a treasurer allows him to start raising money for a bid, although he said he has no fundraising events planned.

"If somebody is interested in donating, I would certainly be in position to have all the I's dotted and the T's crossed," Earle said.

He did not give a timetable for making his decision.

Earle is the first serious Democrat to consider a gubernatorial bid, and given his cred with Democratic voters, he should motivate many to participate in the Democratic primary.

This is extra relevant because Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is hoping to attract Democratic and independent support in her own GOP gubernatorial primary against incumbent Gov. Rick Perry. Texas primaries are open.

But with Democrats suddenly having a relevant primary of their own, that narrows Hutchison's potential voter pool considerably. And with Perry doing a bang-up job of building allegiance among the teabagging/secessionist crowd, Hutchison's job would get a lot more difficult.

Her current plans seem to be to quit late this year to trigger a May 2010 special election (though she has made no official announcement). The NRSC is loathe to defend that seat in a low-turnout special election, and has been pushing for her wait long enough to eliminate the need for the special. But her electoral prospects are already precarious, and they just got a bit more.

Her best bet would be to resign her Senate seat immediately, get home, and start campaigning hard. But that would trigger a special election this November. And as you can imagine, that would put Senate Republicans in an even bigger hole (though Hutchison would be replaced with a Perry appointment pending the special election). So what does ol' Kay do? Look out for herself and come home, ditching her useless seat in the Senate, or does she throw her fellow Republicans a lifeline and hold out until this fall, further endangering her gubernatorial prospects?

She should look out for number one.

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Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 01:06 PM PDT.

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