July 25, 2013

Sam Harless surprised supporters  – and even his wife – when he announced Thursday he was withdrawing from the race for Senate District 7 only a couple weeks after saying he would run.

Harless said he canceled his campaign to spare his family and supporters from wasting time on a seven-month primary battle he argues party leadership have sealed prematurely.

Just after Dan Patrick announced he would run for Lt. Governor June 27, former county tax assessor-collector Paul Bettencourt said he would seek to fill the seat representing northwest Harris County. The next day, Bettencourt’s campaign website listed key leaders of the Harris County Republican Party as endorsements, including its chairman Jared Woodfill, district chairmen, all the slates and  50 precinct chairs.

“It’s not the first time they’ve endorsed someone in the primary, but its the first time within 24 hours,” said Harless, who is general manager of Fred Fincher Motors and the husband of Rep. Patricia Harless. ”When you do that, you’re discouraging new blood from coming in,” he said.

Woodfill disagreed, saying endorsements often quickly follow the announcements of candidates with a “proven track record” like Bettencourt.

“He has spent 20-plus years working with the party to stand for conservative issues and helping other Republicans get elected,” Woodfill said. “You don’t forget that.”

UPDATE: Here’s a copy of the letter Harless sent to supporters: HarlessWithdrawalLetter

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