Beto O’Rourke and Julián Castro are probably the best-known Texans whose names come up during discussions of who might join President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet. But a Washington-based reporter says other Lone Star State residents are getting more buzz than Biden’s two former campaign rivals.
Tom Benning is a Washington D.C. bureau reporter for The Dallas Morning News. He told Texas Standard that while one Texas congressman and a former Dallas mayor are among those assumed to be in contention for cabinet positions, Texas may not be a major source of officials for Biden.
“Most of the tipsheets going around right now don’t predict Biden tapping Texas in a prolific or high-profile way,” Benning said. “But those aren’t the end-all be-all.”
South Texas Congressman Filemon Vela has been mentioned as a possible commerce or transportation secretary, Benning said. Vela was an early supporter of Biden, even as O’Rourke and Castro were still pursuing presidential runs.
“Vela has also helped raise a bunch of money for the Biden campaign,” Benning said. “He had an appearance at the Democratic National Convention. And those are the kind of boxes that you look to see be checked for someone who might be in consideration for that kind of a post.”
Mike Rawlings served as mayor of Dallas from 2011-2019. He also raised money for Biden and endorsed him early. But Benning said Rawlings has told him he likes his private-sector job. But Rawlings suggested others Biden should consider, including former Texas House Speaker, Republican Joe Straus, and Kip Tindell, cofounder of Texas-based The Container Store.
Indicators that someone might be on Biden’s shortlist include fundraising, early support for Biden and previous experience working with or for him on developing policy. That’s the case for El Paso Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, who served on a unity policy council created by Biden and Bernie Sanders.