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Blog Home Page --> Governor -- Texas

Would Runoff Change Dynamic In Texas Race?

What was originally billed as a major Texas showdown has instead turned out to be a somewhat tepid Republican primary for governor. Gov. Rick Perry (R) appears headed for a plurality win in today's vote, with the only suspense in the air whether he can surpass the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff in six weeks.

Perry has never reached 50 percent in polls of what turned out to be a three-way race. But some observers speculated that the governor could do so tonight if enough votes break his way from the undecided column as well as from a fading Debra Medina, whose surge in the polls was cut short by her comments about the Sept. 11 attacks.

But if a runoff does occur, is there any reason to suspect Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison can find her way back? Her campaign, obviously, thinks so.

"She's going to stay on her message of taking the steps necessary to strengthen Texas. Rick Perry is going to be explaining why a majority of Republicans decided they did not want him back in office," said campaign spokesman Joe Pounder.

No incumbent governor has failed to be renominated since a little-known former Wasilla mayor named Sarah Palin defeated Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski (R) in a three-way primary in 2006. Perry has had the support of Palin and other GOP heavyweights in this campaign, and polls have shown him strongest with the conservative voters more likely to vote in a primary. Turnout is believed to be higher than usual, however, and Hutchison has said if she's to win she'll need the support of "November Republican voters."

Continue reading "Would Runoff Change Dynamic In Texas Race?" »

TX Gov: Perry, Hutchison Attack With One Week Left

Just one week remains until Texas holds its midterm primaries, which will be highlighted by the race for the Republican nomination for governor. Incumbent Rick Perry has been successful holding off a competitive challenge from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, leading now by 15 points in the RCP Average, which includes a 16-point lead in the latest Dallas Morning News poll.

With just days left to go, both campaigns are hitting the airwaves with attack ads. Perry goes after Hutchison in an ad called, "The Queen (of earmarks)," which accuses the senator of supporting wasteful earmarks for other states and ties her to unpopular Washington.

Hutchison is up with an ad titled, "Fueled," which highlights negative newspaper clips on Perry -- including stand-alone quotes like "ethical clouds" and "cronyism."

After Quick Rise, New Scrutiny Of Medina's Views

(UPDATE: Medina's reaction to Glenn Beck interview added below)

In the Texas gubernatorial race, Debra Medina has risen quickly from an unknown third wheel in the showdown between Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison to a legitimate contender. One new poll this week found her within four points of Hutchison, and given her trajectory, it was conceivable that she could even sneak past the Texas senator to earn a spot in a likely runoff.

Medina's surge has been attributed in part to a strong performance in the debates -- she was only invited to the second forum because of her showing in the first. She's tapped into the tea party movement that Perry has also actively courted, and also has a strong constituency among the activists who boosted Texas Rep. Ron Paul's presidential run last year.

But now her quick rise has brought increased scrutiny of her views, with an emphasis today on whether Medina is a so-called "truther" who believes the September 11 attacks were an "inside job." Yesterday, the Texas Conservative blog wrote:

Many in the Medina Movement are disciples of this libertarian lunacy faction who came up through the Ron Paul Presidential campaign. Remember 2008, every time there was a debate they would flood the on-line polls to justify their existence even though there was no legitimate chance of Paul winning. At events around the country, they would bully event organizers into submission and use "guerilla tactics" to try and get attention. When many of them were asked why they liked Ron Paul -- they couldn't give an answer other than they agree with him that 9/11 was in inside job.


Debra Medina herself is a disciple of Ron Paul, having worked on his 2008 Campaign, and follows the same libertarian leaning political stances of her mentor. And it is the libertarian/Ron Paul organization that is at work helping Medina and not the conservative grassroots workers in the Republican Party.

Today, Medina was a guest on Glenn Beck's national radio show, and Beck asked her point-blank whether she thought the government was involved with the World Trade Center attacks. Her response:

"I don't have all of the evidence there, Glenn. I'm not in a place -- I have not been out publicly questioning that. I think some very good questions have been raised in that regard. There's some very good arguments and I think the American people have not seen all of the evidence there, so I have not taken a position on that."

Continue reading "After Quick Rise, New Scrutiny Of Medina's Views" »

TX Gov Poll: Perry's Double-Digit Lead Holding Over Hutchison

Looking past tomorrow's special election in Massachusetts, one of the next big elections on the calendar is the Texas gubernatorial primary between incumbent Rick Perry (R) and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R). But a new Rasmussen survey (831 LVs, 1/17, MoE +/- 4%) shows that a third candidate is picking up a bit of steam.

Primary Election Matchup
Perry 43 (-3 vs. last poll, 11/11)
Hutchison 33 (-2)
Medina 12 (+8)
Und 11 (-3)

Rasmussen chalks up the Medina movement to a strong performance in last week's televised debate. She still trails her two rivals in terms of name recognition, with more than a month to go until the primary vote.

Favorable Ratings
Perry 72 / 26
Hutchison 73 / 25
Medina 43 / 29

Among these GOP voters, 73 percent strongly disapprove of President Obama's job performance. Perry, meanwhile, has a 68 percent approval rating -- a signal that many are not ready to turn him out of office even in favor of the popular Hutchison.

Perry: Cross Me Off 2012 List

Rick Perry's national profile has been boosted this year, owing to his strong support of the Tea Party movement and vociferous criticism of the policies coming out of Washington. That's just one reason we put the Texas governor on our list of potential dark horses in the 2012 presidential election. But in an interview with RCP Tuesday afternoon, Perry said to cross his name off.

"No," he said bluntly when asked if he had any interest in a White House run in three years "My interest is in Texas."

Perry argued that "a successful, focused" governor in a major state like his can do just as much to put the nation on the right path.

"I hope that 2010 will not only see a substantial number of Republican governors who share those values elected across the country, but that in 2012 we put forward a candidate and elect that individual to be the president of the United States to be a partner with those states as we build this country back to the strong economic power that it needs to be," he said.

Perry had high praise for a former colleague, Sarah Palin, saying she would be a "very, very talented and incredibly focused candidate" should she decide to run. But, "I think it's a bit premature for us to be proclaiming her - I'll allow her the privilege of making that decision," he added.

In the interview, Perry also offered his thoughts on President Obama's planned announcement on Afghanistan, saying the commander in chief needed to heed the request of the commanders on the ground.

"We have the ability to continue to keep the fight against the Taliban and al Qaida in that part of the world," he said. "Those military leaders have spent a lifetime studying tactic and politics, and they are substantially better qualified, in my opinion, than the president [who's] trying to make a decision to placate those on the left who want him to unilaterally cut and run."

We'll have more of the interview with Perry later this week.

TX Gov Poll: Perry Retakes Commanding Lead In Primary

Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) had taken a small lead after announcing her campaign for governor. But the man who still holds that job has retaken a commanding lead in the primary race, a new Rasmussen poll finds.

Primary Election Matchup
Perry 46 (+8 vs. last poll, 9/16)
Hutchison 35 (-5)
Medina 4 (+1)
Not Sure 14 (-5)

Looking deeper, Rasmussen finds that Gov. Rick Perry's (R) advantage is among the more conservative voters in the primary electorate. He leads 52-30 percent among those who identify themselves as conservatives, while Hutchison leads among moderates and liberals.

Perry has ratcheted up his anti-Washington rhetoric of late, generating a banner headline on Drudge for saying this week that the Obama administration was "hell-bent" on socialism. That's proving to be a winning message in the race considering both candidates are very popular in their own right. Among these primary voters, Perry's job approval rating is 73 percent, and both have nearly identical fav/unfav ratings -- 75/24 for Perry, 75/23 for Hutchison.

The survey also asked if Hutchison should resign her Senate post in making a gov run, something she was expected to do but not yet indicated when. Sixty percent of primary voters said she should, while 26 percent said no.

The survey of 798 likely GOP primary voters was conducted November 11 and had a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

Barbour, But Not RGA, Endorses Perry In Texas

One day after former Vice President Dick Cheney weighed in on behalf of Kay Bailey Hutchison, another endorsement in what is shaping up to be a fascinating Texas gubernatorial primary. Today, it's Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.) endorsing the incumbent, Rick Perry.

The Austin American-Statesman reports the Perry and Barbour, chair of the Republican Governors Association, will be raising money today in Fredericksburg and Dallas. Those fundraisers will benefit the RGA, but Barbour's own endorsement of Perry will come later and be his alone, not the organization's.

RGA spokesperson Mike Schrimpf said the organization does not pick sides in gubernatorial primaries. Something of a distinction without a difference, perhaps.

As for Cheney's endorsement of Hutchison, Perry said on a local radio station this morning: "I think I'd stick with Sarah," referring to Sarah Palin, who has backed him. His spokesman was more blunt: "It's not surprising, considering they worked in Washington together for so many years."

Hutchison Retakes Lead In Gubernatorial Primary

One month after formally announcing her candidacy for governor, Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) has retaken a lead over incumbent Rick Perry in the latest Rasmussen poll.

Primary Election Matchup
Hutchison 40 (+4 from last survey, 7/15)
Perry 38 (-8)
Medina 3 (n/a)
Not Sure 19 (+5)

Both candidates have nearly identical favorable ratings among the Republican primary electorate -- Perry is at 72 / 26 split, Hutchison at 71 / 26. Perry's job approval rating is at 69 percent among Republicans, while 29 percent disapprove. President Obama's approval rating among Texas Republicans is just 18 percent.

The automated telephone survey was conducted September 16 among 790 likely primary voters, with a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent.

TX Gov: Perry Leads Hutchison In GOP Primary

A new University of Texas poll shows that Texans don't think much of what's going on in Washington, which may be weighing down Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) as she prepares to challenge Gov. Rick Perry (R) in the March 2010 primary. She had led Perry in the last UT poll conducted in February.

Republican Primary Election Matchup (RVs)
Perry 38 (+9 from Feb)
Hutchison 27 (-10)
Berman 1
Undecided 26 (+2)

A Democratic primary matchup shows entertainer and 2006 independent candidate Kinky Friedman ahead among registered voters with just 13 percent, followed by state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte at 7, with 64 percent undecided. In a poll of the special election that would occur if Hutchison resigns her Senate seat, Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Democratic former state Comptroller John Sharp leading with 9 percent, with Houston Mayor Bill White (D) at 6 percent.

Perry is not overwhelmingly popular, and in fact won re-election in 2006 with less than 40 percent of the vote in a multi-candidate field. But President Obama has a net negative approval rating, while only 20 percent approve of Congress.

Job Approval
Perry 42 / 32
Obama 43 / 46
Congress 20 / 58

The poll also tests a potential 2012 White House matchup between Obama and Mitt Romney, with the incumbent slightly ahead.

2012 Presidential Matchup
Obama 36
Romney 34
Don't Know 30

The survey was conducted from June 11-22, surveying 924 adults with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percent. The Republican primary subsample of 350 voters had a margin of error of +/- 5.2 percent.

GovernStrong In Texas

Why mess with success? After two big election wins, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has begun exporting some members of his campaign team to other Republicans. Trouble is, when you break up a team, sometimes those teammates end up playing against each other down the road.

Former Schwarzenegger aide Walter von Huene, who served as the Governator's chess partner, has signed on as speech coach to Texas Lieutenant Gov. David Dewhurst, the LA Times notes. Dewhurst is widely expected to seek the governor's mansion when Rick Perry leaves office in 2010, and after two terms as the number two guy in the Lone Star State, he's the early front-runner.

But Dewhurst might not have a clear path to the GOP nomination. Schwarzenegger's rise to power was presaged by his involvement in a successful statewide initiative campaign he spearheaded. In Texas, an initiative last year to float cancer research bonds was headed up by 7-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, who delivered an eloquent election-night speech as his initiative won voter approval.

That speech was written by Jeff Danzinger, a former Schwarzenegger speech writer, the Dallas Morning News reports. And another former Schwarzenegger staffer, Katherine McLane, serves now as Armstrong's spokeswoman. Does Armstrong have the political bug? McLane isn't saying, telling the Morning News that Armstrong is focused only on making cancer research a national priority during the 2008 presidential race. "What happens after that, who can say?" she said.

Armstrong has campaigned with members of both parties. His proposition increasing cancer research funding won support from a prominent Texas Democratic state senator and an aide to former Democratic Gov. Ann Richards, who died of cancer last year, as well as former President George H.W. Bush and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. If he were to make a run, he would give Dewhurst a real race, and because of Texas's loose fundraising laws, it could easily be the most expensive race in the country.

Both Dewhurst and Armstrong have poached staffers from Schwarzenegger. When it comes to politics, they've learned, don't fix what ain't broke.