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Ex-El Paso mayor John Cook runs for Texas land commissioner

Published On: Nov 13 2013 12:44:57 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 16 2014 06:56:42 PM CST

Reporter: Matt Dougherty

EL PASO, Texas -

Former El Paso Mayor John Cook is running for Texas land commissioner.

Cook told ABC-7 of the decision to run for the office in early September and re-iterated his intentions Wednesday. The Democrat says he served in the Army and as mayor, and now he seeks to serve the state as land commissioner.
    
The Vietnam veteran worked for Southwestern Bell after leaving the military. Cook was elected El Paso mayor in 2005 and re-elected in 2009. He completed his second term in June.
    
Cook says if elected in 2014 he'll focus on open government and transparency.
    
Cook seeks to replace Republican Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who's running for lieutenant governor.

Cook told ABC-7 he's not bothered by the long odds Democrats face in the Lone Star State.  By the time the election takes place, it will have been 20 years since any Democrat has won any statewide office in Texas.

If he can get through the Democratic primary, Cook would likely face George P. Bush, son of former Florida governor Jeb Bush, in the general election.  Bush has already reported raising more than $3 million dollars for the race.

Cook says he's not fazed by the challenge.  

“ I’d rather get $2 each from a million voters, than $2 million from a couple of people, "Cook told ABC-7.  "I don’t want to buy peoples’ votes, but I am sure going work hard to earn them.” 

The office is technically known as Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office. It is primarily responsible for administering Texas's public lands for the benefit of public education, but has many other statutory duties as well, including management of the Alamo.

The full slate of candidates won't be known for sure until the filing deadline in early December.  The primary will be held March 4, 2014.

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