11/30/2009 9:17 AM
Rep. Dan Gattis (R-Georgetown) announced Sunday night that he is no longer seeking the SD 5 seat, currently held by Sen. Steve Ogden (R-Bryan). In early September, Ogden said he would likley not seek re-election.
In addition, Gattis also announced that he does not intend on seeking re-election to his Texas House seat.
A press release from Gattis referenced the possibility of an announcement from Ogden regarding his decision. So far no announcement has been received by LSR (see updates below).
Ben Bius of Huntsville is so far the only announced candidate for the SD 5 seat.
Gattis said: "These past few months, and indeed all my public service, have been a great blessing to me. While public service has been rewarding, too often fulfilling my public obligations meant time away from Shana, our children, and my business. This became crystal clear to me as I was called to travel greater distances and be away from my young growing family more frequently during the Senate campaign. Concurrently with this realization, Sen. Ogden and I began discussing the very real financial and budget challenges facing our great State and his interest in returning to the Senate to address these problems should I make the decision to step aside in order to focus on family commitments. It is Senator Ogden’s willingness to return to the Senate that gives me the peace of mind to withdraw from the race at this time.
"So after prayerful consideration, I have decided to devote my full-time attention to my young, growing family, particularly during these challenging economic times. I am grateful to those who supported us throughout the years and those who most recently provided their overwhelming support for our campaign for the Texas Senate. I am honored to have had the privilege to serve the citizens of Texas as an elected official for the past seven years. Although I will not seek re-election to the House, my dedicated staff and I will continue to faithfully serve the constituents of House District 20 until January 2011.”
(9:38 a.m.) Ben Bius said he is so far the only candidate in the race and has no intentions of dropping out. Furthermore, Bius said he has doubts if Ogden is even considering running for re-election at all.
"Naturally," Bius said, when asked if he was still in the race. "My goodness, I don't have an opponent yet -- happy Thanksgiving! This is the best news I've heard of. The only people who have mentioned Steve Ogden's change of heart is Dan Gattis himself."
Bius said he hoped the situation would "take care of itself" soon. He noted Ogden is drilling a well in Abilene today and news of Gattis' mention of Ogden running for another term surprised even Ogden's family.
"Steve's a very honest and forthright man, and he will not be involved in any gamemanship. They don't let people become commanders of nuclear submarines that go back and forth on decisions," he said.
Ogden served as an officer in the U.S. Navy submarine fleet from 1973-82, according to his Web site.
(5 p.m.) So far, no word from Ogden on his intentions.
The Austin American-Statesman provided some more insight earlier this morning. In an article by Jason Embry, Gattis said he learned Ogden may be interested in running for re-election at (out of all places) a funeral. The Statesman article reported:
Gattis has been actively running in the 14-county Senate district since Ogden announced in September that he would not seek re-election. Gattis said he saw Ogden at a funeral a couple of weeks ago and, half-jokingly, suggested that Ogden reconsider his decision not to run again. According to Gattis, Ogden replied, "Dan, if you're serious about that, we'll talk."
While Gattis was concerned about the time he was spending away from his wife and three young children, Ogden expressed some interest in working on the state's looming budget shortfall — which could exceed $10 billion — in the 2011 legislative session.
(10:32 a.m. Tuesday) Still no word from Ogden.
(1:49 p.m. Tuesday) "Later this week" is what the Austin Chronicle's Twitter account, "Lege Land," is posting about when Ogden is expected to make a statement.
(4:52 p.m. Wednesday) Ogden is expected to announce his decision Thursday morning, according to a staffer in his district office.
(10:46 a.m. Thursday) Ogden announced this morning that he's back in the race.