From NBC's Mark Murray and Ali Weinberg
The last full year in which Texas had a Democratic governor -- in 1994 -- Bill Clinton was in his second year in office, Texas A&M was the dominant college football team in the state, and Kurt Cobain had just died.
In short, it was a LONG time ago.
But today's chain of events -- Tom Schieffer (D) exiting the gubernatorial race and popular Houston Mayor Bill White (D) possibly getting in -- could very well give Democrats their best chance at the governor's mansion since Ann Richards served there in the early 1990s.
Indeed, a Democratic source tells First Read that it appears White is getting in. "It's not firm or done yet," the source adds.
Perhaps biggest reason why White has a solid chance in this red state is due to the Rick Perry-vs.-Kay Bailey Hutchison primary on the Republican side. Perry beating Hutchison in a bloody, divisive primary -- in which both Republicans are appealing to the right -- could very well end up alienating independents and women, opening the door for a strong Democratic candidate.
Enter Bill White...
The Houston Chronicle has more: "White has been firm as recently as last week that he would not switch from the U.S. Senate race to the governor's race. But when Republican U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison announced that she would not resign to run for governor, it made the prospects of a race switch more likely for White because no special election was immediately available. Also, because Hutchison has said she will resign in March, it gives White two bites at the apple. He can run for governor, and even if he gets the nomination, he could still run in a Senate special election. If he won the Senate seat, then the State Democratic Executive Committee could name his replacement in the governor's race."