Meet Your Texas Third Party Choices for Governor: Undauntable, Unfindable, and Pot-Smoking


Former Reason intern Jeff Winkler takes a close, though in the usual course of these sort of articles a bit comedic, look for the Texas Monthly at the people running for governor in Texas who are not Democrat Wendy Davis or Republican Greg Abbott.


There's Libertarian Kathie Glass, whose exclusion from the debates because she isn't polling well in polls from which she's excluded is discussed at length. She's only raised about $141,000, and only about $40,000 of that was from people other than herself. But this return candidate is still fighting, campaigning harder than most L.P. candidates:

Glass ran in the 2010 gubernatorial race and placed third, with 2.18 percent of the vote. This time, she's upped her game and turned it into a real professional outfit. Her campaign manager husband, Tom, does logistics. She has a full-time staffer with more than a dozen steady volunteers statewide. They've conducted "internal polling." She even produced an ad in Spanish. And then there's her ambitious tour through all 254 counties in Texas in a Straight-Talk-Express-sized campaign bus .

"We go to places and events and things and go visit the TV stations and newspapers. And that's what we do [in every county]. We try to get coverage and get connected to an event," Glass said. "In smaller counties there's just nothing that we can really make happen there. But every county has a county courthouse."

The campaign also stops at nearly every single radio station they come by. "I'm not talking about the talk radio shows. I'm talking the tiny rock shop, country-western, Christian music, whatever they've got there."…..

Some libertarian-minded folks task themselves with the Sisyphean effort of dismantling governmental overreach brick-by-brick; Glass wants to bulldoze, presumably with private contracts, the whole structure to the ground. As someone who is a libertarian sympathizer, even I cringed during an exchange in which she said that if the Supreme Court issued a decision she didn't like, she would simply ignore it. "I'm going to be guided by my own conscience," she explained.

Smith followed up with what seemed an appropriate query: "Are you running for governor or to be queen? Because this sounds like a monarchical view of government."

"I'm sorry it sounds that way," Glass replied. "It only sounds like that because we haven't followed [the Constitution] for so long that it can seem extreme."

Smith said he was "trying to take this serious." But this was particularly hard since Glass would politely say, "I don't know" when asked a question for which she didn't have an answer. Real politicians never do that.

Then there's the Green Party's Brandon Parmer, who, as Winkler relates at length, is impossible to contact or find, for either media or his own party.

Then there is officially registered write-in candidate Sarah Pavitt:

Becoming a write-in candidate for Texas governor requires 5,000 signatures or $3,750. Since Pavitt's basic campaign strategy is "sitting back and [getting] into it in the fourth quarter, like a football game," she paid the fee. "My friends think I'm crazy to run," said Pavitt, "but I'm bipolar."

….She's pushing for legalization of marijuana because, yes, like millions of Americans she enjoys getting high, but also because it provides medical relief. The VA doctors had her on medications, the antipsychotic Risperdal, which has a whole smorgasbord of side-effects (Parkinson-like symptoms, drooling, constipation, vomiting, etc.). "Risperdal is the one making men grow tits. And I said, 'if it's doing that to guys what do you think it's going to do to me?'" (The answer, I discovered, is amenorrhea, which in English means no menstruation.)…..

Pavitt is practiced in hand-to-hand politics, too. She worked for Representative Lloyd Doggett three years ago and volunteered for Wendy Davis before "she pissed me off." Apparently, Davis "bolted" when Pavitt once tried to talk to her about marijuana. Then came the limelight and greed.

"You can't even email her, she'll go gimme money, gimme money, gimme money," said Pavitt. "And I thought, 'you're supposed to be representing the people. Some of us don't have money.' Like I say, she got off the mark. I don't even know what she represents because all she does is bitch about Greg Abbott and that's not helping."

….."I'm not planning on probably being governor. I just wanted to screw with them." But even Pavitt follows the rules. Her campaign flyers, which she'll pass out soon, are all stamped with "Political Ad Paid for by: Sarah M. Pavitt," as is required by law. "If you don't take care of it, they fine you $5,000. I'm trying to do everything legal."

If she does get elected, Pavitt said she will "light that bong up and tell everybody they can smoke marijuana." And if she doesn't? "I'm going to lay up [on my new deck] naked and smoke marijuana."

Winkler ends with a stirring quote from Libertarian Glass, presenting the best spirit of the ideologically committed third party candidate: "That's another thing in our Texas history. We just don't accept long odds as a reason not to try."