Texas Monthly Talks

Former Texas Comptroller
John Sharp

John Sharp


Notes from Evan Smith

"Back in the old days, when the Democrats were the majority party in the Legislature and their kind got elected almost exclusively to high office, John Sharp was one of many: a well-known but by no means the only well-known brand on his side of aisle. A native of the Gulf Coast farming community of Placedo, he graduated from Texas A&M University, where he served in the Corps of Cadets and was elected Student Body President, and earned a master’s degree in public administration from what was then known as Southwest Texas State University before beginning his upward climb in the the political arena. In 1978, he won a seat in the Texas house representing his then hometown of Victoria, and four years later traded up the Texas Senate. Four yeas after that, he ran for and likewise won a spot on the Texas Railroad Commission, and four years after that succeded Bob Bullock as comptroller of public accounts — the state’s chief financial officer. And from there, anything was possible, or so it seemed, until a little thing called realignment got in the way. George W. Bush grabbed the governor’s office in 1994, the electorate’s leanings shifted from D to R, and Sharp got caught in the current. Two races for lieutenant governor, in 1998 and 2002, came up short, and so he’s spent more than ten years in the private sector, as a principal with the Dallas-based tax consulting firm Ryan and Company. But there’s always another day. Late last year, when Kay Bailey Hutchison’s plan to run for governor in 2010 solidified, 58-year-old Sharp announced plans to reenter politics and seek her soon-to-be-vacant U.S. Senate seat, hoping to defeat fellow Democrat Bill White, the mayor of Houston, and a long list of Republicans in a special election and help his party on its long, slow climb back to competitiveness at the statewide level." - Evan Smith, Texas Monthly Talks, Broadcast 01.29.09