With $12 million in bank, Abbott waits for higher-office dominoes to fall




Posted on April 27, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 27 at 8:38 PM

DALLAS - Like other top Republican politicians in Texas, Attorney General Greg Abbott is closely watching whether there might be openings soon for Lieutenant Governor or Governor.

While Abbott chooses his words carefully when asked about running for those offices, the word "no" is not among them.

As attorney general since 2003, Abbott sits at the power center of Texas Republican Party politics.

His endorsement in the Senate primary would be prized by Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, or especially by Abbott's protege, former Solicitor General Ted Cruz.

But Abbott told Inside Texas Politics he won't pick a favorite.

"I am sitting on the sidelines watching, as all the other voters in the State of Texas [are,]" Abbott said.

With a whopping $12 million in his campaign account, Abbott is primed to seek higher office - perhaps Lieutenant Governor, if Dewhurst wins.

He won't say yes or no.

"So I have a full time job as the Attorney General of this state, and I have to put to another day any political issues like that," he said.

With polls showing Governor Rick Perry politically weakened from his failed presidential bid and with just $2.5 million in the bank, speculation crops up that an impatient Abbott might take on Perry if he runs for a fourth term.

News 8's Brad Watson: "Would you rule out at this time ever challenging Governor Perry in a 2014 primary for governor?"

Abbott: "Brad, I cannot emphasize enough, I'm not thinking about politics."

BW: "Would you rule it out though?"

Abbott: "I have my hands full. I have my hands full on all of these legal issues that I'm having to wage against the federal government."

BW: "So I can take that as a 'no,' you wouldn't rule that out at this time?"

Abbott: "Nice try, Brad. What you can take it as, I'm not even thinking about those issues."

But he is watching and waiting.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com