Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Great Casesar's Ghost, It's Perry White!

The gubernatorial candidates who were nominated in the Texas primary election yesterday, remind one of the comic-book character who was Superman's boss as editor of The Daily Planet. As expected, Governor Rick Perry won the Republican primary, and former Mayor Bill White, of Houston, got the Democratic nomination.

Perry won slightly more than 50% of the Republican vote in a three-way race. That allows him to avoid a runoff primary against the runner-up, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who trailed Perry by about 20 percentage points. The runoff question was the only unresolved issue going into yesterday's vote. Debra Medina, a political novice who represented the Tea Party movement, finished third.

Yesterday, before the results were in, Chris Cillizza, in The Fix blog on The Washington Post website, pointed out that, even if Perry had fallen below 50%, Hutchison would have been under pressure to abandon the runoff. Medina's absence from a runoff contest would presumably only have strengthened the position of Perry, who has also associated himself with the Tea Party faction. Cillizza also discussed the $64,000 question: whether Hutchison will follow through on her pledge to resign from the Senate after the primary. That promise was easy to make, last year, when she thought she was going to win; Cillizza gives some reasons why she might be tempted to renege, now that she has lost the gubernatorial nomination.

White ran up a huge majority against a political newcomer, businessman Farouk Shami, and other Democratic candidates.

In what is shaping up to be a Republican year, in a state where Republicans have increasingly dominated in recent years, the Democrats might have been expected to put up a sacrificial lamb against a proven vote-getter such as Perry. But, as I mentioned here, while White trails in general election polls, Perry's lead is in single digits. White is a political heavyweight, so this race will be interesting to watch as the year goes on.

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