The former GOP strategist and ABC News talking head had announced his campaign in late September during the third called session of the Texas legislature. According to campaign finance reports, Dowd raised $372,850 during the special session.
Dowd ended his bid earlier this week, citing an op-ed he wrote for ABC News in 2018 expressing the sentiment that fewer white, Christian men should seek leadership positions to “give more people who don’t look like us access to the levers of power.”
In a press statement, Dowd said that when he entered the lieutenant governor’s race, there was only one other candidate — Mike Collier, a white, Christian male. Since then, state Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton), after a now suspended run for Congress, has announced her candidacy to be Texas’ second-in-command.
Texas Democratic Party Vice Chair Carla Brailey is also reportedly considering a run for the position. She would be the first black candidate in the primary. Collier, Dowd, and Beckley are white.
“When I first announced, the only other candidate was a white male Christian. A diverse field is now emerging in the Democratic primary for this office,” Dowd said. “I do not want to be the one who stands in the way of the greater diversity we need in politics.”
Johnson, who was elected mayor of Dallas in 2019, questioned Dowd’s logic in a series of posts on social media.
“I’m confused and a little disturbed by the reasoning here. Campaigns are precisely for the purpose of selecting the BEST candidate,” Johnson tweeted. “It seems my friend is saying that Democratic primary voters are incapable of nominating women and minorities if there is a white man on the ballot?”
Johnson remarked that it would be a “shame on the Democratic primary voters” if it is the case that they are prejudiced against women and racial minorities.
The mayor also wrote, “The problem is NOT white men running for office. The problem is the 800 lb gorilla in the room, which is the racism within the Democratic Party that many pretend doesn’t exist. So the solution isn’t folks like Dowd ‘yielding’ to candidates of color. It’s addressing the racism.”
Beckley and Collier are centering their criticisms on Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is facing at least five Republican primary challengers: conservative activist Trayce Bradford, business owner Aaron Sorrells, Texas Nationalist Movement president Daniel Miller, Todd Bullis, and Zach Vance. The primary election is slated to take place in March.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."