The House and Senate races are easy. The incumbents support victory, their opponents want to declare defeat and retreat. I have complaints about Rep. Granger but none of them matter compared to the war.
The Governor's race is the tough one. There's five candidates worth looking at (Here's the wikipedia page with links to their campaign websites). Rather than doing a gut feel I'm taking the systems engineering approach. Do a trade study by rating each candidate on the issues I care about, then totaling up the scores (weighted by the relative importance of each issue. That may not settle it but should at least narrow it down.
Education: I prefer a Darwinian solution--let's have lots of different approaches and let them compete. Werner supports that. Everyone else wants to hand more money to the teachers' unions, except Perry.
Crime: Keeping thugs from hurting/robbing/defrauding people is what state governments should focus on. But we also need to enable self-defense. Werner is encouraging that. He and Kinky also want to stop locking up people caught with some marijauna in their pocket.
Higher Ed: A minor issue for me, it's just that I'm annoyed by Bell wanting to regulate tuition costs and Strayhorn wanting to make community colleges free.
Gov't Structure: Other than Perry they want to have independent redistricting and allow public referendums. Bell has a bunch of other rules he wants to put in place which I suspect would make things worse.
Pissing Off Establishment: Strayhorn would annoy the Republican establishment, but the teacher unions would be thrilled. Friedman and Werner would piss off everyone in Austin I'd like to see pissed off. This is probably my most important criterion. There's no way to get the fixes I want without shaking things up a lot. The only way to do that is to rub the noses of both parties in how much the voters are annoyed by them both.
Eminent Domain Abuse: My pet peeve isn't getting talked about much. Friedman has mentioned opposing it but not made it part of his platform. Werner gets credit for his party's stand on it. Perry actually signed a bill restricting it slightly.
Illegal Immigration: To me this is a security issue. I'd like to make legal immigration easy, but as much as I sympathize with people who come here to work hard I don't want to leave an open path for terrorists and WMDs. So Werner gets marked down for leaving the door wide open. Everyone else takes a similar stand of sending troops to the border. I'd think Texas could afford to build a border fence out of our own pockets but there's no proposals from the candidates. So this has a lower weighting than I'd give it if there was going to be something done.
The final results:
It comes down to Kinky vs. the Libertarian, which isn't much of a surprise. On the issues the Libertarian is closer to me. Kinky has a major statist streak I don't like. He wants the government to be a better parent. I want it to respect me as an adult.
I may still wind up voting for Kinky. Even if he's not going to build the structure I want he's a good sledgehammer for knocking some chunks out of the old one. And he's going to get lots more votes than the Libertarian, so if I want to vote for a winner he's the best bet.
BTW, There are a few more candidates I wasn't considering in this:
Jose Aravena (Socialist Workers)
Jerry Larson (Green Party)
James "Patriot" Dillon (Ind)
They're mainly left off because I couldn't find websites with their stands on the issues. But those political parties aren't getting my vote anyway. I did find something to like about the Green Party of Texas--they want to make the State Senate proportional representation.