AUSTIN (KXAN) - Mike Collier, a one-time oil industry executive who is new to politics, is the first Democrat to announce plans to run for comptroller in next year's election.
Collier, 52, said Texas needs a "watchdog" to look over the agency that collects taxes and makes the official revenue forecast that guides how much lawmakers can spend each legislative session.
"I'm dissatisfied with our politics today," said Collier, 52, a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. "There is one party that's in control of everything."
Not only is the upcoming race the first foray into election politics for Collier, it's his first formal association with long out-of-power Texas Democratic party. In 2012, Collier said, he voted for Mitt Romney in the Texas Republican primary because of his business experience.
But since the, he said, he has found the GOP out of step with his thinking on both social and fiscal issues.
"I'm very comfortable doing this as a Democrat," Collier said.
The announcement, made via YouTube followed up with a series of meet-and-greets with media outlets this week, makes Collier just the second Democrat to step up for a statewide race. He said the decision by state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth to run for governor means the party is serious about ending its two-decade drought on the statewide ballot.
If Collier, who is now beginning his fundraising efforts, wins the nomination, he'll likely face a better-known and better-funded Republican in the race to succeed retiring Comptroller Susan Combs. State Sen. Glenn Hegar of Katy, state Rep. Harvey Hilderbran of Kerrville and former state Rep. Raul Torres of Corpus Christi have made plans to seek the GOP nomination.
Libertarian-leaning Debra Medina, an unsuccessful candidate for the 2010 Republican gubernatorial nomination, has said she's thinking about running for comptroller next year.
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