Rick Perry vs. the World *
Tracking the 2006 Texas gubernatorial race.
* Now at the new Rick Perry vs World

Thursday, April 28, 2005
Burka, the senior Senator, and the shadow primary
Since I commented on Patricia Kilday Hart's article yesterday, today I'll comment on Paul Burka's May 2005 Texas Monthly article. Burka frames his story as a faux memo from KBH's political political consultants to the Senator herself.

One of the things I love about Texas Monthly is that it is consistently provocative, thought-inducing writing. With that said, I think Burka's piece reads like something written by a member of the mainstream media rather than something written by a GOP political consultant that actually has an intimate sense of Republican primaries.
... most of the statewide officials -- except Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, who may run for governor herself -- have already endorsed Rick Perry. It's a toss-up who's more craven: Perry for asking them this early or them for doing it. Now you're holding up their game of musical chairs, especially in the case of David Dewhurst, the lieutenant governor. He wants to succeed Perry in 2010, but if you beat Perry, he's stuck in his current job for eight more years. So he might opt to run for your Senate seat, leaving his job open and touching off another mad scramble. Congressman Henry Bonilla, of San Antonio, has already said he'll run for the Senate if you don't. Strayhorn and Attorney General Greg Abbott would look at the lite gov's office Dewhurst would be vacating, and railroad commissioner Michael Williams and Texas Supreme Court justice Harriet O'Neill are said to be interested in the AG’s job. Yes, all eyes are on you right now.
It may be craven, but it seems like smart politics to me for Perry to have wrapped up his endorsements. Politicians are generally risk-averse, and so Perry realized that if he asked now, all the statewide officeholders would be likely to endorse him. I can't think of a good reason why Perry shouldn't have wrapped up his endorsements now.

Good shortlist of the musical chairs that will happen if Hutchison runs for governor.
Your job is to exploit the latent "Perry fatigue" among voters, to contrast your vision and leadership with his.

It shouldn't be hard.
Yikes. Any Hutchison consultant who so understates the difficulty that Hutchison will face in beating Perry...well, I think that consultant is probably enticing Hutchison into the race in hopes of the higher fees that come from an expensive, high profile race.

I got together with Chris and Kevin for some adult beverages last night. Good times were had by all...once we finally got a table.

They both think I need a site redesign and comments. So we'll see, maybe this blog will get a facelift.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Chris Bell's new website
Chris Bell -- he's still just exploring. really -- has launched his website, with the two trendiest things in websites today: a blog and a podcast.

The perfect storm (numerically)
Were I to quantify my recent post, I'd lay the odds somewhere around 13:1 to 19:1. To put it another way, I'd say there is about a 5%-7.5% chance that a Democrat lives in the guv's mansion in February 2007. Under current circumstances, a Democrat would win once every 16 to 20 times.

I'll admit that most would probably put Democrats' chances of winning significantly higher. I think they're wrong.

Part of the reason I think so is because I'm not convinced that either Perry or Hutchison would be wounded enough by a primary to make them vulnerable. The primary is in March, a good 8 months before the general election in November.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Dueling campaign quotes
The Houston Chronicle picks up the story of the email from Nate Crain, where Crain complained about the Hutchison camp's denial of several stories: that Crain was disinvited from KBH's events, that Midland GOP Chair Sue Brannon claimed KBH told her she was running for gov to spend more time with her kids, and that state Sen. Deuell claimed Beckwith threatened him with primary opposition.

The Chron has quotes from the campaigns:
Hutchison campaign manager Terry Sullivan said Crain's e-mail is part of an orchestrated effort by Perry's campaign to use a few vocal supporters to shore up his support.

Sullivan said Hutchison is more interested in seeing the Legislature accomplish something about property tax reform and public school finance than in discussing a possible race for governor.

"It's embarrassing that the governor's office is playing politics with this instead of leading on important issues," Sullivan said. "Obviously, he is more concerned about what is good for his campaign than what is good for the people of Texas."

Perry re-election campaign manager Luis Saenz said Crain acted on his own and has not endorsed Perry for governor.

"It just shows the growing grass-roots support that Republicans are showing for Gov. Perry," Saenz said. "Gov. Perry has worked hard for that support."
The AP wire take on the matter is here.

Crain email
Today the FWST reported that Dallas County Republican Party Chairman Nate Crain says he was uninvited to Hutchison events.

This afternoon Harvey Kronberg reports that Crain is circulating an email asking his fellow GOP county chairmen to tell Senator Hutchison not to run for guv. Here's the excerpt that Kronberg printed:
Dear Fellow Republican County Chairman:

I am writing to encourage you to let Senator Hutchison know your opposition to her running for Governor.

In recent weeks, the tone of the Hutchison campaign has changed dramatically.Republican County Chairman and Republican Elected officials have been treated in a shameful and disappointing manner.

Chairwoman Sue Brannon shared a story with several newspapers about a conversation that she and Senator Hutchison had. The Hutchison campaign denied that the conversation took place.
If someone can get me the full email, I'd appreciate it.

Democrats can win...but it would take the perfect storm
In May's Texas Monthly, Patricia Kildray Hart theorizes that:
The chance of a Democratic upset in the 2006 governor's race is as likely as, well, Bill Clements winning in '78. Or Mark White winning in '82. Or Ann Richards winning in '90. Or …
Color me unconvinced. I'll put Hart's support for her position in an orderly fashion, and then I'll comment on it.
1. Texas gubernatorial elections have historically been unpredictable.
Yawn. This is hardly a statistically significant sample size. Some Dem primaries were unpredictable in the past, but statistically that doesn't mean much.

2. The GOP has a 10 point advantage, but because the GOP won when Dems dominated, now the Dems can win in GOP dominated Texas.
The situations aren't analagous at all. Republicans were able to win the governorship in Dem Texas a few times when Democrats had a substantial lead in party ID. But by this time Texas was already starting to swing Republican presidentially. Moreover, Texas has always been conservative, and that favors Republicans.

Today, Republicans dominate, but we also dominate in Texas at the presidential level. Likewise, the same is still true: Texas is still conservative, and Republicans are even more clearly the conservative party today.

3. I almost summarized this, but it's just too rich not to: "Buried in the 2004 election returns were a few hopeful events that Democrats believe they can build upon: Congressman Chet Edwards’s defeat of former Texas lawmaker Arlene Wohlgemuth in a district that was drawn to elect a Republican; Hubert Vo’s defeat of House Appropriations chairman Talmadge Heflin in an ethnically dynamic Houston legislative district; and Mark Strama's defeat of Republican incumbent Jack Stick in a Republican-leaning Austin legislative district. Their common trait? Criticizing Republican priorities: redrawing congressional boundaries at the behest of DeLay instead of focusing on school finance and voting for budget cuts over health insurance for poor children. There's also recent evidence that Democrats can raise money in Texas: Hillary Clinton netted half a million dollars in a two-day campaign swing in March."
That's an optimistic (from a Democrat's perspective) look at the 2004 elections. Sure, they managed to win a few elections. But lots of Democrats also thought that several redistricted Democrats would survive. Only Edwards did. And let's remember that many of these white Democrats who lost already had strongly GOP districts before redistricting.

Hillary Clinton can raise money in Texas? I guess that means national Democrats can still use Texas as an ATM to withdraw money for other states.

Wohlgemuth let herself get caricaturized in the general, Heflin ran a terrible race, and the Statesman hammered Stick on what they felt were ethical lapses. Also, it's doubtful whether Stick's district is still GOP. It's trending the other way.

Sure, these were the Democratic bright spots for 2004. But to extrapolate to a statewide race is essentially just fantasy.

4. "The biggest issue for Democrats is not really who but when. Consultants on both sides of the aisle agree that it's only a matter of time before Democrats become competitive again, with the help of the expected surge in the Hispanic vote and, if the Vo race is an indicator, the Asian vote as well."
The question might be when, but that day is unlikely to be soon. Folks have been writing about the looming Hispanic vote in Texas for 50 years.

Remember how Tony Sanchez did? His model for winning was based on Hispanic voters, and he got swamped. There's no reason to think that in 2006 anybody could do better than that. They won't be able to spend $70 million on GOTV.

Also, Vo is Vietnamese -- the most Republican ethnic group in America. All indications are that he switched some Vietnamese votes and Asian to the D column -- and in that he was a perfect candidate for the district -- but using Vo to extrapolate that "the Asian vote" is trending D...there's no evidence of that.

5. "One thing that could change that forecast is the Kinky factor. The former Texas Monthly columnist has destabilized the field by declaring his independent candidacy for the job with a logical query: How hard could it be?"
If Kinky can actually get 50,000 folks to sign his ballot that don't vote in either primary, then I'll be impressed. If not, he's not even on the ballot.
In short, I'm totally unimpressed by Hart's argument. Sure, there's always a chance for a Democrat to win -- it's never impossible -- but it would take a perfect storm.

FWST covers blogs
Aman Batheja profiles of a few of the blogs covering the legislature, including this one.
Perry spokesman Rob Black cautioned readers of blogs to take everything they read with a grain of salt.

"There have been a lot of inaccuracies in a lot of statements in blogs we have seen," Black said.
Memo to Perry campaign: why not try to change that, instead of complaining about it? From my experience, it doesn't seem like they're taking a pro-active approach with blogs.

Weekend recap, 2nd try
I'm back from Amarillo, where I had a wonderful time. It's always good to visit other parts of Texas, and the Panhandle was beautiful this time of year. It was cold though.

1. Perry attends ribbon cutting in El Paso at new EDS location. Then he speaks to 200 at the El Paso County GOP banquet before flying off to Mexico for Ambassador (and former Railroad Commish) Tony Garza's wedding to the Corona beer heiress.

2. The LATimes writes up Kinky's candidacy.

3. William McKenzie in the DMN opines the obvious:
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, in particular, should follow this part of the debate. If a question remains about school finance at the session's end, she has room to run against Mr. Perry next year in the Republican primary. If there's not, her chance for a challenge shrinks.

4. Nate Crain, chair of the Dallas County GOP, says that someone from Hutchison's camp called to disinvite him from her March 31 fundraiser because he's endorsed Perry for re-election. Hutchison's campaign denies it.

Assuming there's at least some kernel of truth to the story, KBH's campaign seems awfully interested in running for guv, even if the Senator hasn't officially made up her mind.

5. The R Club, a group of younger fiscal conservative Houstonians, has endorsed Perry for re-relection.

6. No pictures please:
There was Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, coming out of a Senate elevator the other day on her way to a vote. And who was sharing the elevator with her? Why, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.

Hutchison and potential gubernatorial rival Gov. Rick Perry traded barbs recently over a videotape showing her exchanging niceties with Clinton at an event.

So when Hutchison realized that a Star-Telegram reporter had noticed her elevator companion, she quickly took the initiative.

"Don't take a picture," she said with a grin.

7. Strayhorn blasted Perry (surprise, surprise) for the tolls which will finance the Trans-Texas Corridor (via HK). She also continues to come up with unique reasons to send out press releases to try and get into the headlines.

Monday, April 25, 2005
Blogger just ate my recap of what happened last weekend.


Thursday, April 21, 2005
Posting will be slow for the weekend
Friday morning, I'm off to Amarillo for the weekend. I'm not sure I'll be able to post from there. I may post this evening, but I wouldn't bet on it.

You know it's slow when...
...this is the biggest news of the day so far.

Senators KBH and Cornyn announced that a Marshall company received the contract to build army battlefield simulators.

I've got a post coming on where the GOP primary vote comes from, but in the meantime I'm off to visit a friend.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Perry updates his SREC support
Today the Perry campaign announced that 46 members of the 62 member State Republican Executive Committee have signed on to his re-election. Bill Crocker, one of two Texas representatives to the national committee, also endorsed Perry.

Since the beginning of March, Perry has increased his share of SREC members from about 50% to 75%.

Terry Sullivan, KBH's campaign manager, once said that, "If the governor was doing an even halfway good job in the eyes of the Republican Party, every [SREC member] would have signed."

Well, it ain't every SREC member but it's getting closer to it.

Slow days
Not much news coming out of the shadow primary this week. Sometimes I'm slow on posting, but this week there just isn't much happening.

If I get around to it, I'll finish up a post or two that I've been writing.

Monday, April 18, 2005
Mas shorts
1. Clay Robison opines in the Chronicle against the tv ads featuring Perry that are being run outside of the state to promote Texas for business. Robison doesn't like the fact that private money is being used; he'd rather taxpayers pay.

For someone with such keen vision for conflicts of interest, Robison is blind to the conflict of interest in being head of the the news in Austin and yet opining in a weekly column.

2. Chris Bell is now 70% sure he'll make a bid for governor. According to the article, the last Congressman to become governor was 1907.

3. Kay Bailey Hutchison spoke at the NRA convention as well. She said:
"The French government has raised its terror alert from 'run' to 'hide,'" she joked, bringing a round of laughter. "The only higher levels in France are 'surrender' and 'collaborate.'"
This earned her a rebuke from the Chronicle editorial page.

Shucks, Kay, we thought it was funny.

4. Speaking of Kay being funny, she was in a red cape with blue stars last week. She did it to raise money for DC's Arena Stage.

Last time she did something like this, she ended up hugging Hillary.

Saturday, April 16, 2005
1. Hutchison offers support for Delay: "The Majority Leader is the target of an unfair media feeding frenzy. He deserves to have people actually listen to what he has to say."

2. Leubsdorf in the DMN offers a column on speculation as to what will happen to Kay Bailey's Senate seat. The article offers Dewhurst and AG Abbott as potential Bonilla challengers. Dewhurst has said he wants to succeed Perry as guv in 2010, and claims to have been misquoted about running for Senate in 2010. Abbott originally was running against Dewhurst for lt guv in 2002 before switching to the AG race when Cornyn ran for Senate.

3. Tommy Merritt says that former Perry Chief of Staff Mike Toomey had Merritt pledge to support Craddick as Speaker in return for Perry's endorsement. Merritt was facing a GOP primary challenge, and had recently been defeated in a state senate race in part due to the efforts of one of Perry's consultants. (Statesman) (AP)

4. Perry hosted the Baylor Lady Bears basketball team. Then he knocked over their trophy.

5. KBH raised $700,000 this quarter. Perry and Strayhorn can't raise money while the legislature is in session. Kay has $7.2 million in cash on hand, while Rick has $7.9 million. Carole has $5.7 mil.

Rick and Kay aren't going to have problems raising money. The most surprising thing to me is that Kay continues to raise significant amounts of money for her federal account in $2000 chunks per donor when she could open a state account and raise unlimited amounts per donor.

5. Perry released his tax returns. He made about 180k.

6. Perry spoke to the national NRA convention in Houston. The NRA is always good to have on your side. Meanwhile, neither Rick, Carole or Kay have a concealed weapons permit. Perry did talk about his love of hunting.

7. Deidre Delisi, Perry's current chief of staff, is asking lobbyists to support the governor on school finance by contributing to an ad campaign in support of the proposals.

8. Kay speaks at Fiesta in San Antonio. Shame Bexar County doesn't have good turnout in GOP primaries.

Thursday, April 14, 2005
This is what we won't see in the next 12 months
An AP file photo from March 13, 2000

Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Assessing the Dems
In my interview with National Summary that I posted on yesterday, I said:
It's possible that the [GOP] primary could be so nasty and divisive that the nominee would limp wounded into the general (election) and be beaten by a Democrat. It's not likely though. To capitalize on such a situation, the Democrats would need a credible candidate. At this point, it's tough to see who that would be.
I'd like to elaborate. After taking a look at my sidebar, I see four candidates. I haven't heard any other rumors -- I'll try and alleviate that by checking in with some of my Dem friends in the next few weeks -- so I'll comment on the four I know.

Chris Bell -- He's already running, even if he hasn't made it official, so I'll talk about him the most. I find it hard to take a guy seriously who loses with 31.3% of the vote in his party's primary as an incumbent Congressman. Yes, his district was about 50% new -- 43,000 of the 83,000 who voted in the 2004 general election were new to his district -- and Bell's district was made more black and minority (voting age population -- 36% black and 30% Hispanic). Also, black turnout was high due to the Allen-Wilson house primary battle. However, Bell's 31% means that he ran a miserable campaign. Redistricting hurt him -- and maybe he would have lost anyway -- but he underperformed his district in a big way.

Can he raise the money necessary for the race after a performance like that? I'm skeptical.

Tony Sanchez -- Yawn. Were Democrats so impressed by his showing in 2002 that they want to take a second go-round? Doubtful.

Jim Turner -- I've heard the rumors that he's considering a statewide bid, but since he's spending most of his time lobbying in DC, it seems less likely that he wants to come back to Texas. He seems like the strongest candidate of the bunch -- my understanding is that he had a solid reputation in DC -- but I have my doubts as to whether he runs.

John Sharp -- Lose a race for lt. gvv twice so you run for guv? I'm guessing he'd find it a bit tougher to raise money this time around. Also, his 2002 grand strategy -- the Dream ticket with Sanchez at the top -- didn't work out so well. That's not good for the political reputation. On the other hand, I know folks who claim Sharp was talking about running for guv back when he was an Aggie.
So maybe Sharp has the ambition to give it another shot.

Appraisal cap bill goes down
Rick Perry lost the legislative battle when Dwayne Bohac's property tax appraisal cap bill went down in the House. However, he'll keep it as a campaign issue.

I haven't seen any primary polling numbers on the issue, but my sense is that appraisal caps are both a popular and intense issue in a GOP primary campaign. Those who care about property tax appraisal caps are likely to feel strongly.

There's also the issue of timing: property tax bills generally come due around January 31, and the primary will be just a month later on March 7.

Perry has tied himself pretty strongly to this issue. I don't know where KBH stands, but she'll try to use the issue as part of a larger failure of Perry's leadership whether she supports lowering the appraisal cap or not.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Interview with me
There's an interview with me over at National Summary about the state of the primary. So if you want to read more about my thoughts on the race, surf on over.

Dewhurst comments at fundraiser
Dewhurst at a Montgomery County fundraiser:
The small -- but influential -- crowd applauded Lt. Governor David Dewhurst when he boldly announced his full support for Gov. Rick Perry's 2006 re-election campaign and quickly followed that he would put himself on the block for the Senate seat in 2010.
When I first read this, I thought Dewhurst was assuming that Hutchison would run for re-election, and then retire, and he'd take her seat.

Then I realize that Texas won't have a Senate seat up for election in 2010. I guess that's the joke.

Weekend roundup
1. Amarillo Globe News likes Perry's pick of Amarilloan Phil Johnson to the Supreme Court noting that "The Panhandle was Republican long before the rest of the state followed our lead."

2. The Associated Press caught up with the shadow primary over the weekend. Nothing really new here, but it did get picked up across the nation.

3. Perry appears in a new ad to promote Texas as a business friendly place. It's paid for with private dollars and not shown in Texas; some good government types still object.

4. Perry and KBH both made bets over the Baylor Lady Bears title game.

Friday, April 08, 2005
Rick Casey rehashes the recent gossip about Kay running for guv because she's tired of the commute to DC.
What are we to make of this?

That Perry supporters are making up conversations out of whole cloth?


I've also assumed that Hutchison is considering running for governor because it is no fun being a moderate-to-conservative Republican in a Congress where the tone is set by the likes of Dick Cheney, Bill Frist and Tom DeLay.

Come to think of it, these guys don't look like they're having fun either, and they're in power.

In fact, the only one having fun in Washington these days is Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, and he's in New York.

Wanting to return to Texas not only shows healthy maternal instincts on Hutchison's part, but it also shows a certain amount of sanity.

Of course, the implication of Perry supporter Brannon's report of her alleged conversation with Hutchison is that the only reason she wants to be governor is to have more time with her children.

That's why I'm puzzled by the response of her spokesman.

The better reply, it seems to me, would be for Hutchison to say, "Of course I would like to be in Texas with my children. But I'm also concerned about state leadership that appears to be failing children regarding both schools and health care. If I decide to run for governor, it will be because I think I can do a better job for all Texas children."

It wouldn't satisfy some religious conservatives who think all mothers should be at home, but it sure would resonate with a lot of working middle-class mothers who have seen their schools tighten their belts because of state funding cutbacks.

And after all, if Hutchison decides to run for governor it will be a wager that suburban mothers and fathers who care about schools and health care outnumber members of the starve-the-government right, even in the Republican primary.
Yawn. This column seemed like a space filler.

Thursday, April 07, 2005
The wisdom of crowds
If you believe in the wisdom of crowds, then you might take note of the fact that Henry Bonilla had a solid fundraising performance the first 3 months of the year:
After three months of fundraising, Rep. Henry Bonilla said Wednesday he'll have nearly $2 million in cash for a potential race for the U.S. Senate if Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison makes a run against Gov. Rick Perry next year.

Bonilla, R-San Antonio, said he raised about $780,000 since January at fundraisers in Texas and Washington.

The events coincided with speaking engagements aimed at raising his profile in Dallas, Houston, Austin and other cities where he's less known.

"The more money you have early on the better off you are when the race starts," Bonilla told the San Antonio Express-News.


Bonilla's winter fundraising schedule boosted his campaign coffers with record results. He raised more than the House speaker and minority and majority leaders during the same period in 2004.

The San Antonio lawmaker, a former KENS-TV producer, showed $1.17 million in cash on hand at the end of 2004, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Bonilla said his quarterly report, due March 31, would boost that to nearly $2 million.
Not bad. There are obviously some donors in Texas who think Senator Hutchison isn't running for re-election.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Hutchison spokesman denies it
The Chronicle picks up the Midland Reporter Telegram gossip:
Midland GOP Chairwoman Sue Brannon told the Houston Chronicle that Hutchison recently confided to her that she is "worn out going back and forth" from Dallas to Washington, D.C. "She just said, 'Oh, Susan, I'm ready to come back to Texas and be with my children,' " Brannon said.

Brannon said she told Hutchison that she should stay in the Senate where her seniority would do the state some good. She said she also told Hutchison that she should not challenge Perry because that would be divisive and could hurt the Republican Party.

"She said, 'I don't want to hear that,' " Brannon said.

Hutchison and her husband, Ray, have two adopted children, both age 3.

Hutchison spokesman David Beckwith said the senator never had such a conversation with Brannon or anyone else.

Beckwith said Hutchison lives with her family in Dallas and commutes to Washington to work. He said she often is able to be in Dallas up to five days a week and at other times brings her children to Washington. He said a nanny takes care of the children when the senator cannot be there.

Going for the youth vote
Politicians are starting younger and younger:
Texas GOP Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn are coming to a TV near you, chatting it up with Sesame Street characters Elmo and Rosita. In a public-service announcement each taped for Sesame Street's 36th season -- which starts Monday on Public Broadcasting Service stations -- Hutchison and Cornyn promote healthy eating, nutrition and exercise.

"With more than 30 percent of American children overweight, we all bear the responsibility of helping our children learn early on the benefits of healthy eating and exercise," Hutchison said.

Cornyn's take: "What better way to encourage healthy habits in preschool-aged children than to use the trusted friends of Sesame Street."

P isn't taking sides
George P. Bush isn't taking sides:
Mr. Bush said he was not taking sides in the potential 2006 gubernatorial primary showdown between Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and incumbent Rick Perry.

"I'm going to stay out of it," he said. "Some people look at it as a potential to tear apart the party, but I think it's going to bring us together. It will give us a chance to hone our message."
I didn't see him at BeerBike.

FYI: A Rice alum has never been guv of Texas.

Williams on the race
The Midland Reporter Telegram writes up gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams' support for Perry.
Prominent Midland oilman Clayton Williams Monday said he strongly opposes U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's possible opposition to the re-election of Gov. Rick Perry next year and will contribute heavily to Perry's campaign if the internecine struggle takes place.

En route with his wife Modesta from their Alpine area ranch, the CEO of Clayton Williams Energy said he values the work Hutchison does in Washington and will do everything in his power to see she continues doing it.

"I support Gov. Perry because we have not had any tax increases and because redistricting was a real battle and now we have representation in Congress proportionate to our true demographics," Williams said. "I also strongly support him because he has been responsible with his economic development fund for helping Midland directly.


Williams, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1990, doesn't have a top limit on how much he'd give Perry for the March 2006 primary. But he indicated it could be hefty. "It depends on what the price of oil and gas is," he said.


Brannon said Hutchison recently confided in her during a Basin appearance that she has a personal reason to take the governorship from Perry, who is completing his first full four-year term after following President Bush into the office. "She told me she adopted two kids, 4 and 5, and doesn't want to raise them in Washington," Brannon said.

"I said, 'You knew that when you adopted those children, and a nanny is raising them anyway!' That's her main reason. They're in Dallas, and she said it's wearing her out going back and forth."
Gotta love the gossip.
Brannon said Perry did yoeman's work by resisting political pressure and calling three special legislative sessions during the 2003 redistricting ordeal.

"Rick stuck by his guns on that and really helped Midland," she said, referring to Conaway's subsequent election in the new 11th Congressional District.

"I don't think she's going to have Midland's support this time. I honestly don't think she'll run because she won't run if she can't win." Brannon said she couldn't support Perry in a contested party primary but is within her authority to oppose Hutchison's gubernatorial candidacy.

the WaPo picks the story up...a week late
Mike Allen and Brian Faler:
The 46-second video shows Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) hugging -- twice -- with pair of cheek rubs thrown in for good measure.

This was no undercover effort to document secret bipartisanship. The clip was recorded and e-mailed by supporters of Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who is likely to be challenged by Hutchison for the GOP nomination when he runs for reelection next year.

One statewide Republican incumbent trying to smear another is unusual, even in today's few-holds-barred political culture. The tape was made March 3 at Capitol Hill's Sewall-Belmont House, a landmark of the women's suffrage movement, during a Women's History Month event.

"I'm delighted that Kay is my partner on so many important fronts," Clinton told the audience, to applause. At one point in the crudely spliced video, Clinton purses her lips to plant a smacker on the Texan, who leans in. One frame shows the two rubbing right cheeks.

Aides to the senator said that when reporters from the Austin American-Statesman and Fort Worth Star-Telegram both called Hutchison's office on the same day last week to report that they had received the video from Republicans, it was pretty obvious who was behind it. Event organizers said only two cameras had been on hand: one from Home and Garden Television, the event's sponsor, and the other from a hired team based in Arlington, Va., that said it was working for Perry.

Chris Paulitz, Hutchison's spokesman, called it "stalking a U.S. senator."

Luis Saenz, Perry's campaign director, said the campaign provided the video to four or five "key supporters and consultants," and that somehow it got on the Web. "The campaign did not distribute it," said Saenz, who was unapologetic. "Any good campaign operation monitors what potential opponents say and do," he added. "Any potential opponent is not going to get a free ride."

Now, the Hutchison forces have turned up an artifact of their own. It's a letter signed by Perry in 1993, when he was Texas agriculture commissioner and Clinton was first lady, presiding over the ill-fated Task Force on National Health Care Reform.

"Dear Mrs. Clinton," the letter begins. "I think your efforts in trying to reform the nation's health care system are most commendable."

While Blogger wasn't working...the anti-gambling rally
Eileen at In the Pink Texas covered the anti-gambling rally where both Tina Benkiser and Charles Soechting showed up to say that state GOP and Dem party chairs don't want more gambling.

Andrew at BOR linked to this quote by Perry spokesman Kathy Walt: "The fact of the matter is the governor has never been a proponent of gambling." However, the AP story he links to no longer contains that quote.

If Walt said that, well...that's an outrageous claim. Perry certainly supported gambling as a means for revenue to pay for school finance.

UPDATE: While the AP article no longer contains that quote, GoogleNews has a cache of Walt's quote.

I'm back
I do apologize for the lack of posts over the past few days.

I couldn't get Blogger to work for much of the early part of the weekend, and then BeerBike (which is a bit like Homecoming for Rice) was this weekend.

Then a combination of job search (I'm looking for a job energy trading) and computer troubles kept me away.

I'm back now. Unfortunately, for some reason I'm not getting The Hotline for free anymore.

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