News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Pauken Ends GOP Race For Governor

TWC Chairman Tom Pauken
TWC Chairman Tom Pauken

Former Texas Republican Party Chair Tom Pauken is ending his campaign for governor saying he can no longer ask supporters and conservatives for help when there is "no realistic path to victory."

  When he announced his candidacy in March, Pauken, 69, said he needed at least $2 million to wage a credible campaign for the Republican nomination.  

As of mid-September, Pauken had raised less than $200,000.

In a statement Wednesday, Pauken noted the leading Republican candidate, Attorney General Greg Abbott, has now collected more than $25 million in campaign contributions.  

Pauken said the media often ignores him as they focus on a likely race between Abbott and Democratic State Sen. Wendy Davis in November. 

Other little-known Republicans who have filed to run against Abbott include former radio talk show host Lisa Fritsch, former Spanish-language TV personality Miriam Martinez and Larry Kilgore who has advocated for Texas secession.

Following is the Pauken campaign's press release.

Tom Pauken Withdraws from Texas GOP Gubernatorial Race

PORT ARANSAS, TEXAS (December 5, 2013) – Former Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken today announced his withdrawal from the Texas gubernatorial race.  The following statement is excerpted from a letter the Pauken campaign sent today to donors and supporters:

Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings, and I have much to be thankful for with such a great family and so many wonderful friends. The past month has made that even clearer and more dear to me. I want to thank you personally for your gracious and generous support of my campaign for Governor and the future of Texas. It is deeply appreciated.

Thanksgiving week also gave me the opportunity to reflect on where we were in the campaign and what we should do, going forward. Filing deadline is only days away, and I have to be realistic about our prospects. When I first filed our exploratory committee in March, I said at the time that there were certain, minimum objectives we needed to achieve to win the Republican nomination: (1) We had to raise a minimum of $2 million; (2) We had to build a strong, statewide organization; (3) We had to develop a major social media presence in a short period of time.

Even though I have worked hard to get our message out across the state the past six months, unfortunately we are nowhere near where we need to be financially and organizationally to win this race. And, the primary is only three months away. I can no longer in good conscience ask friends and fellow conservatives to continue to help me when there appears to be no realistic path to victory. Greg Abbott has a $25 million war chest and the media depicts this as a Greg Abbott v. Wendy Davis race.

My travels across the state make clear that Texans are frustrated with the direction our nation is headed. I fervently believe that we need a new style of leadership in our Party that will unite Texans and Americans behind sound policies based on our conservative principles, and take the fight to the Left. On the issue of education, I have fought hard for a return to local control and more opportunities for vocational education. We have to end this cancer of insider cronyism which infects both parties as government becomes more our master, rather than our servant. Clearly, my message has not resonated with enough contributors, party leaders, and grassroots conservatives to show a pathway to victory. I wish it were otherwise. I believe my message is the right one to bring Texans and Americans together for the good of the country, but perhaps I am not the right messenger – or, it is not the right time.

You have my assurance that I will continue the fight for our founding principles.  But, under the circumstances I have decided not to file for the Republican nomination for Governor.

Thank you for all you have done to support our cause.


Former KERA staffer Shelley Kofler was news director, managing editor and senior reporter. She is an award-winning reporter and television producer who previously served as the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.