Matt Dowd says he won’t run for Texas lieutenant governor to run for governor in 2020

Republican strategist Matthew Dowd said Sunday he will not pursue his party’s nomination for lieutenant governor of Texas to focus on running for governor of the state in 2020, citing a desire to focus on helping to “diversity” in politics.

“In the past 24 hours, I have talked with a number of supporters and those who wanted me to run for lieutenant governor and I’ve told them that I don’t feel I could win a Republican primary that includes the four major candidates that are running now and that I’m not prepared to spend the next two years raising funds in order to take on a very difficult primary,” he said in an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”

Dowd, who was the man behind President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign and has worked for most Republican presidential campaigns over the past 15 years, said he would not seek the GOP nomination as a 2016 presidential candidate in order to spend time focusing on “ensuring that the party could recover in a way that recognizes that we have a very large tent and does not need to lower the standards that we set when we’re at our best.”

“I want to make sure that we continue to show the world that as diverse as we are, we believe in working toward common goals. We don’t divide ourselves by race or gender or religion,” he said. “There is no diversity worse than when you begin with a set of standards and then separate by different groups, where a lot of the time, the result of that division is that, politics — and some of the personalities of it — becomes a little less than it should be.”

The decision leaves the race wide open for the nomination to run for the lieutenant governor post, in which Republican Wayne Faircloth has been lieutenant governor of Texas since 2014. The state’s lieutenant governor is second in line to the governorship in case of a vacancy. Democrat Sylvia Garcia is seeking the Democratic nomination for the position.

Texas Republicans are putting forward more than 15 candidates for statewide offices in this year’s Texas primary, which, Dowd said, could diminish the quality of the GOP candidate pool for the fall because of that large number of candidates.

“That means that no one will come out as the clear Republican standard bearer. That means that it will be very difficult to show that we’re going to win back the Congress of the United States of America,” he said. “At this point, I don’t want to try to slow down the diversity that we’re talking about.

“I’m not going to take a race if I can do something to help it.”

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