SAN ANTONIO -

Who will be the likely contenders to replace the longest running governor of Texas is up for speculation, but Dr. Larry Hufford, a professor of political science at St. Mary’s University, has a prediction of his own.

“I think our next governor will probably be Attorney General Abbott,” Hufford said.

He said Republican Greg Abbott already has a sizeable war chest, and is rapidly moving to the right of where Gov. Rick Perry already is.

“He is going to do everything possible to use the Tea Party as his base,” Hufford said.

As for the Democrats, Hufford said he believes the party leaders are looking for a pro-choice, moderate conservative with strong name identification who could win among moderate, mainstream Republican women.

Asked if he had anyone in mind, Hufford said, “I have none at this time.”

However, he said being pro-choice may be the deciding factor for women in light of the last special session that ended in turmoil over abortion rights.

Hufford said State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Fort Worth Democrat, is being touted for governor after she led the filibuster against Senate Bill 5 now being considered during the current special session.

Despite that, Hufford said Davis would not win.  

Not only would Davis have to give up her two-year term, Hufford said, “She might be labeled as a one-issue politician.”

Still Hufford said he thinks any chance for Democrats depends on the women’s vote and the issue of choice.

Already a national political figure, Hufford said San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro could make a run for governor, but timing is everything.

Hufford said Castro first needs another term to cement his record as a mayor of San Antonio.

He said in another four to five years, Texas will be a majority-minority state with Latinos outnumbering Anglos.

“I think that would be the right time to run for Governor,” Hufford said. “This is too soon for Mayor Castro.”

Hufford said at that point, Democrats may be able to win some statewide offices.

He said instead of Texas being red or blue, “It will be purple and it will be winnable for the right candidate.”

But he said for that to happen, Latino voters are pivotal.

“You have to get people who have never voted to think my vote counts and it’s important,” Hufford said. “That’s critical for the future.”

For a list of recent stories Jessie Degollado has done, click here.