AUSTIN (KXAN) - Rick Perry's 13-year lock on the Governor's Mansion served to freeze the political landscape for a generation of would-be successors in the Republican stable.
Now that the long-serving Republican has decided not to seek a fourth four-year term, the mad scramble starts not only to replace Perry but to replace those who would replace the governor.
"(It's) really the end of an era," said Matt Mackowiak, a veteran political consultant and blogger who served as Press Secretary to U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX).
"If you're in 8th grade you've known no other governor of TX but Rick Perry from the day you were born," said Mackowiak who after Perry's announcement predicted Attorney General Greg Abbott will announce his intention to run for Texas Governor this coming Sunday in San Antonio.
A three-term Republican, Abbott has more than $18 million in his campaign account and is considered the early GOP favorite. Political veteran Tom Pauken, a former chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission also wants to be governor.
Assuming Abbott enters the governor's race, that leaves his office up for grabs. Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman has his eyes on that race, as does state Rep. Dan Branch, a 10-year lawmaker from Dallas. Others also may surface between now and opening of filing for the 2014 cycle.
Smitherman's term is up next year, so his seat would be open. No formally announced candidates are in the race yet.
Meanwhile, two-term Comptroller Susan Combs is leaving politics. That leaves her job open. Christi Craddick, a Railroad Commission member whose term does not expire until 2018, is interested in running for comptroller. No need to scramble for that one unless Craddick wins the race to move up.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who's been in office nearly as long as Perry has been, wants to keep his job. But he's got a target on his back. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, in office since 2003, wants the job. So does Todd Staples, the two-term agriculture commissioner.
If they both run, both seats are open. No clear favorites for either just year.
State Sen. Dan Patrick is also running for lieutenant governor. The race to replace him will be centered in the Houston area.
Mackowiak foresees multiple candidates in the races for statewide seats, with primaries in several of the contests.
"Everyone's been waiting on this announcement from Perry. Either go or no-go for 2014 and... the dominoes were going to fall in a certain direction based on what that decision was," Mackowiak said.
There are no Democrats in statewide office, so there would be fewer ripples and shorter on that side of the political pond whenever candidates step forward.
And the ending of the Perry era has Texas Democrats ready to pounce as soon as the main GOP candidates are in place.
"I think the first step is letting Greg Abbott run and telling him we're going to contest that race," said Jason Stanford a Austin-based democratic strategist.
"The second one figuring out where all the republicans are going to be, Then we have to get Wendy Davis where's she going to go. (The Ft. Worth senator has been touted as a Democratic choice for Governor.) And then at that point we need a state-wide ticket, Stanford said."
An 8-year-old was killed while standing outside of a vehicle which lost control during the icy conditions, DPS said.
Leander ISD is one of the fastest growing school districts in the state. Their latest demographic report shows a shift in the type of families moving into the district.
University of Texas System regents say they're planning to discuss the employment of Austin campus President Bill Powers, who has sparred with lawmakers and critics over his job in recent years.
Two people were robbed at gunpoint at an East Austin apartment complex Monday evening.
Because of her position as Travis County District Attorney, the deputies who arrested, booked, and restrained Rosemary Lehmberg last April admit they were worried her threats were legitimate.
In a last-minute surprise late Monday, U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman filed paperwork to challenge fellow Texas Republican and powerful incumbent John Cornyn for the U.S. Senate next year.