The proverbial game of musical chairs continues in the State of Texas as more candidates join the crowded statewide elections for soon-to-be-vacant positions. Current Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced his campaign against Ken Paxton for Texas Attorney General earlier this year, creating a major vacancy in the General Land Office.
The GLO manages, among other things, the Alamo, disaster relief, Texas veteran benefits, and 13 million acres of public land. Bush has received a great deal of criticism from Republicans and Democrats over his handling of relief funds following Hurricane Harvey, as well as his controversial “reimagination” plan for the historic Alamo.
Jay Kleberg, an heir to the iconic King Ranch in South Texas, has joined three other Democrats seeking the party nomination. Several Republicans are also contending for the position, one of which (Dawn Buckingham) previously received President Trump’s endorsement. Kleberg accused Buckingham of wanting to use the land commissioner office as a “stepping stone” and focusing too heavily on political issues that do not concern the GLO.
Kleberg believes his experience being raised on the largest ranch in Texas will be beneficial to the office. He intends to use the GLO “to diversify its portfolio of renewables” and “lead the state toward a low emission future.”
Running heavily on his experience as a conservationist, Kleberg has previously raised more than $100 million for environmental efforts.
“It’s the responsibility of the land commissioner to combat climate change, and it seems like a bold statement in Texas politics right now, but we’ve gotta follow the science,” Kleberg said in an interview with the left-wing Texas Tribune.
Kleberg previously ran a campaign in 2010 for a state House seat in El Paso. He ran as a Republican then, but was defeated in a three-way GOP primary. Kleberg now claims he is “a Texan first” and feels “strong about running as a Democrat.”
However, Miguel Suazo, the 2018 Democrat nominee for land commissioner, lost to George P. Bush by double digits.
The primary is slated for March 1, 2022.