So far, Democrats have failed to put a candidate on the 2018 ballot for governor in the largest state in the country. The reason is that many leading Democrats don’t think their party has a chance of winning in the Lone Star State. Meanwhile, the rather obvious lack of Democratic presence is getting the wrong kind of attention.

"If they didn't have somebody running for governor it'd be a symbol that they've given up," said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston, in an AP report published Tuesday.

Democrats face string of big losses

While the professor’s analysis seems spot on, the last Democrat elected Governor Of Texas was Ann Richards, decades ago, in 1990. In fact, a Democrat has not been elected to statewide office since 1994 which represents the longest dry spell for Democrats in the nation. However, even if the Democratic Party feels like campaigning in Texas is a waste of time and money, not fielding a candidate for the state’s top job will only add to the party’s irrelevance.

It’s true that at this point Democrats have in similar fashion lost most of the South when it comes to federal elections, but failing to put a candidate in Texas gubernatorial-race starting blocks would convince many Democrats that their party doesn’t think it’s constituents are worth the time, money and trouble to represent.

They might even get used to voting for Republicans in the absence of a Democratic Party candidate for governor since voters can cross party lines in primaries.

Still, with statewide campaigns becoming mega expensive, it’s not difficult to understand why the national Democrats, their supporters and the DNC would be hesitant to fund just any old candidate for governor.

In the same way, it’s not hard to imagine high-profile Democrats in that state wanting to keep their powder dry by sitting out 2018.

Wendy Davis: 'it's going to take time'

Wendy Davis, the Democratic state senator who lost 59–38 to Republican Greg Abbott in 2014 is perhaps a case in point. Despite having high name recognition and a strong pro-choice reputation, she’s not running.

Whether it’s because she lost to Rick Perry by more than 20 points in 2014 or because her party is becoming extinct in the South, she’s probably going to sit this one out.

"It's going to take some time, obviously, to build up excitement around someone who, at that point in time, might be fairly unknown," said Davis.

Texas Democrats promise candidate

Losses notwithstanding, the state party has entered and supported a candidate for governor of Texas in every gubernatorial contest since Reconstruction, and everybody hasn't thrown in the towel. Manny Garcia, deputy executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, claims the party will field a formidable candidate in 2018.

"We're going to have an authentic, dynamic candidate running for Texas governor, and that announcement will come at an appropriate time in the fall," Garcia said.

Time is money; there's little of either

In reality, Democrats need to find a viable candidate, lease him and his campaign staff an aircraft and motorcade and do it all sooner rather than later. Back in 2002 Laredo oilman and banker, Tony Sanchez spent $60 million of his own money only to lose to Republican Rick Perry by nearly 18 points.

It’s probably a safe assumption that these days a competitive governor’s campaign in Texas would cost a whole lot more; however, a no-show Democratic Party could cost as much in political capital.