by Larry Lemmons
Amarillo, Texas - The face of Panhandle politics will soon be changing with the retirement of longtime Representative David Swinford.
Potential redistricting in 2011 has put the Panhandle representation under threat. Swinford believes if he gets out now, to make room for a new face, the Panhandle hopefully will not lose clout in Austin. "We have a lot of talented people in the Texas Panhandle and the citizens of the Texas Panhandle will elect a very good state representative."
Because of population shifts, the Panhandle could lose at least one district seat. It's a topic that our delegation in Austin has been considering. "When you've done something for almost twenty years it's hard to give it up. But we've been visiting about this for awhile."
But the timing of the announcement, very close to the deadline, does not surprise a potential candidate. Anette Carlisle is a past District 87 candidate. "You'll see it around the state that this is happening. They'll wait until the last minute to drop out so people who aren't in the know don't have time to get their ducks in a row in order to file and run a very short campaign."
For the Democratic Candidate, Abel Bosquez, Swinford's retirement is good news. "It makes the playing field more even because now I'm not campaigning to run against an incumbent."
Speculation about Mayor Debra McCart's interest in the seat continues but she says, "That's an official no."
The deadline for republicans to file with the state republican party is January fourth.