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Former State GOP Head Pauken Running For Governor

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jack Fink
Jack moved to Dallas after three years at WESH-TV, the NBC affil...
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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) — A veteran Texas Republican is throwing his hat into the ring for Governor.

Former Republican Party State Chairman Tom Pauken is announcing he’ll run next year, regardless of whether Governor Rick Perry and State Attorney General Greg Abbott will be in the race.

Pauken filed paperwork with the Texas Ethics Commission Thursday saying he appointed a treasurer of his campaign.

In an interview, Pauken told CBS 11′s Jack Fink he believes conservatives are divided, and that he can bring them together to solve the state’s important issues.

Pauken says he wants to change how public schools are financed in the state, and to focus on the state’s water and transportation issues.

Until last month, Puaken served as the Chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission.

He was appointed by Governor Rick Perry and now may run against his former boss.

Governor Perry has said he’ll announce this June or July whether he’ll run for re-election.

He may also run for President again.

Many people believe State Attorney General Greg Abbott will also run for Governor.

Both the Perry and Abbott campaigns told me today that they are focused on the legislative session which will come to an end in late May.

Pauken points to his service in the administration of former President Ronald Reagan, and says he’s going to run on the issues.

He says, “People misunderstand the Reagan model which I was a part of the Reagan model is coming up with common sense solutions to serious problems based on conservative principles. That’s authentic conservatism, not soundbites.”

Current and former party leaders I spoke with believe Pauken has a big challenge ahead of him whether he runs against Governor Perry, Greg Abbott, or both of them.

Pauken says he knows this will be difficult, and that he won’t raise as much money, but he’s going for it.

CBS 11′s political analyst, John Weekley says, “I think Pauken has an uphill battle to climb because Governor Perry is extraordinarily well-known, got relatively goood numbers in Texas, and he’s a known quantity.  Greg Abbott is probably one of the most popular elected officials in the state right now, and I think he would be difficult to beat.”

Pauken says he will now concentrate on building a statewide campaign.

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