It’s the weirdest governor’s race in modern Texas history. Three out of four funded candidates started their political careers as Democrats. Yet the one surviving Democrat has placed fourth in fundraising and struggles for the attention that all major-party nominees once received.
Instead, some wealthy trial lawyers are backing an ex-Democrat who entered this race as a Republican—only to declare herself Independent shortly before the primary. This candidate—who soon will appear on the ballot under the third surname of her political career—recently lost her bid to be called “Grandma” on this ballot.
Yet another Independent will appear on the ballot as “Kinky.” This country-western humorist was the race’s most entertaining candidate—at least until he tried to articulate a platform. His campaign-merchandising model has broken the campaign-finance mold. Yet it remains to be seen if people who advocate legalized pot or who buy Kinky paraphernalia will vote for anyone at all. Are people sporting “Why not Kinky?” bumper stickers themselves wrestling with this question?
Finally the ex-Democrat now occupying the Governor’s Mansion leads the fundraising race—as expected of a big-business incumbent. By late June the governor already came close to matching the $25 million that George W. Bush raised by the end of his 1998 gubernatorial reelection campaign. Yet this governor enjoys none of the comfort with which his predecessor brushed off challenger Garry Mauro. This has less to do with this governor’s under-whelming track record than the fact that the victor in this wild, four-way race need not garner anywhere near 51 percent of the vote. In Maurice Sendak’s immortal words, “Let the wild rumpus begin!”
©Copyright Texans for Public Justice, September 2006