Liberal Dallas businessman, Jaffery Payne, pledged to spend a princely sum of one million dollars to run for governor of Texas in 2018 – against the massively popular incumbent, Governor Gregg Abbot. However, Payne’s business is a series of racy gay bars across Texas, and is himself gay.
Payne is the owner of a gay leather bar named the “Dallas Edge”, and is the winner for both the international and Texas Mr. Leather Competition in year 2009. He officially launched his campaign this week addressing the inevitable controversy, “There’s no reason to think that someone who is gay can’t do a job, and here it’s being governor and representing people. I believe that the majority of Texans are going to sit back and say, ‘I don’t care that he’s gay, what are his solutions?'””
This flamboyant millionare has left Democrats in a serious bind. Democrats currently do not have a serious candidate to challenge the state’s Republican governor Greg Abbott the next year. This has caused the Associated Press to describe the Democrat’s situation as a “new low” but, at the same time, the democratic party of Texas has signaled that they uneasy with supporting Payne.
Describing the state of the Texas Democratic party, political science professor at Rice University, Mark Jones explained, “It’s not a very high bar, we don’t have even a C-list Democrat who’s announced they’re going to run for governor, but Payne is head and shoulders above everyone else. If we assume that he’s being genuine in his proposal to spend in the seven-figures, that gives him a hundred times more financial resources than his closest rival.”
A spokesman from the Democratic Party Texas said in a statement that they are still awaiting the announcement from the “great leaders,” though he never responded directly to the questions about handling Payne as a candidate.
The communications director, Tariq Thowfeek said, “The Texas Democratic Party is talking to a number of great leaders who are considering a run for governor, and we look forward to their announcements. These Texans come from diverse backgrounds with proven track records of leadership and an unwavering commitment to our shared Democratic values.”
Thowfeek further added, “There are over 27 million Texans, a majority of whom are looking for real leadership, not more of Greg Abbott’s failed policies and hateful agenda. Mr. Payne is one of those people.”
Jones says that the Democrats are in a “difficult” position with Payne. Payne on the other hand thinks that he has a fair chance on winning the party’s primary next year.
Jones explained, “It’s difficult for Democrats because on one hand the party elite is very progressive on LGBT issues and just spent an entire legislative session bashing Republicans for being homophobic, hateful, and discriminatory. On the other hand there are the Democrats that worry about not just having a gay candidate, but a gay candidate who is best known in Dallas for owning the leading leather bar in the city and was Mr. Leather International in 2009.”
Though the Democrats have no real chance at defeating Governor Abbot in 2018, but they are looking forward to making inroads with the millions of illegals in Texas, and recently resettled Californians who are moving to the state in droves.
The Texas Democratic representative Beto O’Rourke, who is running statewide for the senate’s seat in 2018 says that his hopes that the party would embrace a candidate or the governor. One of the Democrat’s top choices Representative Joaquin Castro, recently took himself out of the running.
Democrats face down a December candidate registration deadline in their desperate search to challenge sitting governor, Gregg Abbott.