• Jeffrey Payne is the first Democratic candidate to join the race to be the next governor of Texas. (CBS Local)Source: CBS Local
He also won Mr International Leather in 2009.
Michaela Morgan

21 Jul 2017 - 11:53 AM  UPDATED 21 Jul 2017 - 11:53 AM

A businessman who owns a leather bar in Dallas has announced he will be running for the top job in the state, saying the current governor Greg Abbott is a “disaster for Texans” who offers “nothing in the way of new ideas”.

Jeffrey Payne is the owner of well-known gay leather bar—The Dallas Eagle—and was crowned Mr International Leather in 2009.

The political newcomer is actively involved in the LGBT+ community and is the first Democratic candidate for governor to file his paper work in Texas.

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“If we don’t have compromise, and compassion for one another, we’re never going to reach a resolution, and we’re just going to keep talking about it and kicking the can down the road,” he told CBS.

According to the Dallas Voice, Payne was born in Maine and spent much of his childhood in an orphanage. He moved to New Orleans as an adult and opened a successful jewellery store but lost everything when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.

He then relocated to Dallas and after successfully rebuilding his life, says he wants to show his gratitude to the state of Texas.   

Governor Greg Abbott announced his re-election campaign on July 14, warning his supporters that “liberals are trying to mess with Texas.”

The governor has been a staunch opponent of LGBT+ Texans, signing an anti-LGBT+ adoption bill and supporting the anti-trans bathroom bill.

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Texas is historically a ‘red state’ and hasn’t voted for a Democratic President in over 40 years—Jimmy Carter in 1976. The state’s last Democratic governor was Ann Richards in 1991.

“It’s time we stopped letting the Republican Party run unopposed in this state,” Payne declared.

“We need a governor who is not a career bureaucrat, but one with real world experience and dedication to making Texas a better, safer and healthier place for all Texans.”

Payne adds he and his team have a lot of work to do before the gubernatorial election in November 2018.

“For the next 16 months, it’s going to be pressing the flesh and getting out there.”