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

Monday, May 16, 2005
New address
This blog is moving to its new home at www.perryvsworld.com.

Many thanks to Kevin for doing all the Nucleus work and hosting, and Chris for the graphics. The new place is certainly much classier.

UPDATE: I have a new blog: Tom DeLay vs World. Go check it out.

Texas Monthly on Strayhorn
Texas Monthly should have a "major piece" coming out on Comptroller Strayhorn in next month's edition.

We hope to have a preview link for you in the next week or so, courtesy of Texas Monthly.

Weyrich on KBH vs. Perry
Paul Weyrich, one of the patriarchs of the conservative movement, writes up his view of Perry and Hutchison:
Senator Hutchison said she would make up her mind about running against Governor Perry or running for another term in the Senate. She would have no trouble getting re-elected. The Democrats most likely would endorse a sacrificial candidate to run against her. Senator Hutchison is more liberal than her colleague, Fellow Republican Senator John Cornyn, and almost all other Republicans in the Texas Congressional Delegation. In fact, one motivation for Senator Hutchison, we are told, is her frustration over continually having to take more conservative stands than she would like but she tries to be loyal to President Bush and the more conservative GOP leadership in the Senate. When she served one term as Chairman of the Senate Steering Committee she would cringe when advised of positions she should take with the Senate’s conservative leadership. Most Senators serve multiple terms as chairman of this caucus of conservative Senators. She did not.

The incumbent Governor may be tough to beat. While not having the engaging personality of a George W. Bush or even an Ann Richards Governor Perry nevertheless is a solid conservative who vowed he would run on his record. He adamantly opposes tax increases. He was victorious over the budget crisis, (which nearly every Governor has experienced). Texas had a $10 billion deficit. Perry is the ONLY Governor to have balanced the budget without raising taxes. In fact, in this session of the Texas State Legislature Governor Perry is tangling with some fellow Republicans, a few of whom want to raise taxes and revenues. The Governor's answer has been consistently "no."

Perry has the support of social conservatives who have become a very important part of the Texas GOP. Indeed the expanded party base has developed at the expense of pro-life and pro-family Democrats who left their party after it was dominated by Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and other leftwing groups. In the last session of the Texas Legislature, Governor Perry led the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act. He led the passage of a unique “women’s right-to-know” law, which requires that prior to seeking abortions women receive information about the possible consequences of such a procedure. It is an informed-consent law which other states are reviewing as a possible model for regulating abortion. Perry also led and passed the "Pre-Natal Protection Act," which is really the Lacy and Connor Peterson Law for Texas. This session the Governor supports enactment of a parental-consent abortion law and wants a Constitutional amendment on marriage approved at the federal level.

Already the Governor and Senator Hutchison have clashed over embryonic stem cell research. Senator Hutchison favors expanding the available lines for stem cell research. Governor Perry takes President Bush's position that one does not destroy potential human life in the name of scientific research. It is not clear what Senator Hutchison's position is on pro-family issues that Governor Perry has advocated but she came to the Senate as a supporter of abortion rights. She has voted for most pro-life issues in the intervening years, however, because most abortion votes have involved funding and other marginal issues rather than abortion itself.

1. Kay Bailey Hutchison completed the Capital Challenge to again claim the title of fastest female senator.

2. KBH received "enthusiastically" by the mostly black congregation at T.D. Jakes' church in Dallas. Unfortunately for Kay, probably not many are Republican primary voters.

3. The Statesman blog has rumors that Wentworth and others in the House were planning to prohibit federal campaign funds from being used in state races. That would mean KBH wouldn't be able to use her $7 million in federal accounts to run for governor.

4. Rocker and activist Ted Nugent "has developed a friendship with Republican Gov. Rick Perry. He said the two send e-mails and talk regularly. They met a few years ago through a mutual hunting pal, and Nugent plans to help Perry's re-election campaign next year."

5. Perry and Hutchison temporarily make nice in fighting for Texas to keep its military installations.

Ambassador Hutchison rumors
Douglas, Recio and Moritz in the >FWST:
It may not have much basis in fact, but the latest rumor about U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has Austin buzzing again.

It has Hutchison, a Dallas Republican reportedly considering a bid for Texas governor, getting tapped by President Bush as U.S. ambassador to the Court of St. James's, the plum United Kingdom position now vacant.

That would clear a major hurdle to Gov. Rick Perry's re-election and open up the coveted Senate nomination for U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-San Antonio, or Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

Hutchison spokesman Chris Paulitz dismissed the rumors.

"She's never been offered an ambassadorship," he said.

The U.S. ambassador's London residence is one of the most luxurious in the U.S. Foreign Service. Winfield House, a gift to the United States by heiress Barbara Hutton, is an antique-filled mansion on 12 1/2 acres in Regent's Park.

Hutchison might want to consider it.

Thursday, May 12, 2005
New Texas Poll has Perry and Hutch sliding
The new Texas Poll shows Rick Perry's job approval rating at 45%, with 35% disapproving. That's down from 51% in a poll released in mid-February. The poll was done from 4/14 to 5/4.

KBH's approval shows a similar slide, from 72% approving in the previous poll to 67% now. Strayhorn moved slightly downward from 53% to 51%. By contrast, Bush's approval is 58% in the poll.

Among Republicans, job approval is 68% for Hutchison and 63% for Perry.

These results do make you wonder how Survey USA found a 38/48 job approval/disapproval in a 5/6 to 5/8 poll. The SUSA poll seems low.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Are we having fun yet?
Suzanne Gamboa, AP:
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison was the target of criticism from Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday after she proposed a highway measure that Perry supported.

Hutchison, R-Texas, is considering challenging Perry in the 2006 GOP gubernatorial primary. Perry has announced he will seek another term.

Hutchison proposed an amendment to a U.S. Senate bill authorizing spending levels for transportation and federal highways. Her amendment would prohibit states from assessing tolls on existing highways.

Perry said in a statement he agrees Hutchison's proposal. But then came the criticism.

"We're glad Sen. Hutchison is following Gov. Perry's lead in opposing the conversion of existing highway lanes to be used as toll roads," press secretary Kathy Walt said in a statement.

"But instead of solving a problem that doesn't exist in Texas, we hope she will solve one that does," Walt said. Walt said the state needs "real leadership to ensure Texas gets treated fairly when it comes to highway funding."
Heh. Sounds like the Perry campaign is not going to commit to the "she's so effective in the Senate, she ought to stay there" line.

1. Dallas oilman Albert Huddleston says he'll donate heavily to KBH if she challenges Perry:
A deep-pocketed Dallas contributor said Friday he will funnel big bucks to U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's campaign if she challenges Gov. Rick Perry's bid for another term next year.

"She'd make a great governor," Albert Huddleston said. "If (she) chooses to run, then I will be helping her in that effort more than I've rarely helped anybody."

Perry's campaign spokesman, Luis Saenz, discounted Huddleston because he's spoken kindly of creating a state personal income tax and supported Democrats.
I checked Huddleston's political contributions at both federal and state level. He gives mostly (75%ish, I'd say) to Republicans, but definitely has lots of Democrats that he contributes to as well.

Not that it should matter that much. Both Perry and Hutchison should have plenty of money.

2. Byron highlights some relatively low poll numbers from Rick Perry. I can't find the actual poll results beyond the basic Perry job approval numbers, which are 38% Approve, 48% Disapprove, and 14% Unsure. Byron adds some numbers I couldn't find anywhere on Survey USA's website, that Republicans are 57/33 approval/disapproval with 10% unsure.

Lots of political journalists and observers discount Survey USA's polls, since they use automated questioners instead of human questioners on the other end of the line. I generally think that the skepticism of Survey USA is unwarranted.

I pass on the results of this poll without comment, as there are several reasons why this mightn't be very predictive.

Mistakes by inexperienced staffers
Remember the Republican pro-choice group that removed Hutchison from its endorsement list?

The group says it was a mistake by an "inexperienced staffer":

With Texas conservatives dogging her every move, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison found herself embroiled this week in an issue she prefers to avoid – abortion – after a miscue by a Republican abortion-rights group that has long backed her.

The Wish List, a group that raises money for GOP candidates who support abortion rights, sought to knock down reports it was distancing itself from Ms. Hutchison.

The Texas senator remains on the group's Web site as an honorary board member and is touted as one of four female pro-choice GOP senators.

Earlier this week, Wish List removed a page saying it "strongly supports" Ms. Hutchison for a third term in the Senate. The group's president, Pat Carpenter, on Friday blamed "an inexperienced staffer" for posting an endorsement prematurely, since Ms. Hutchison is not yet a declared candidate for re-election.

Social-conservative allies of the governor's campaign -- prodded by a Perry aide -- pounced on the group's decision, calling it an effort to hide Ms. Hutchison's support of abortion rights. They circulated a news release that erroneously said Wish List had dropped her from its board.

On Friday, social conservatives stepped up their attack on Ms. Hutchison with a new round of e-mails to activists in Texas.


Kelly Shackelford of the Free Market Foundation, which opposes abortion and gay marriage, said he's confident Mr. Perry would win the GOP primary.

At the same time, he said, some social conservatives see a silver lining in a Hutchison challenge because it would trigger elections that could put more conservative candidates in statewide office.

"I've talked with a number of people who privately think it might be a good thing," he said.

McKenzie column
It's no secret that the legislature's failure to produce a school finance bill hurts Rick Perry.

William McKenzie writes in a DMN column:
That sound you hear from Austin is a door swinging open, plenty wide enough for Kay Bailey Hutchison to barge right through.

Gov. Rick Perry has had every chance this session to lead legislators to a plan that answers the state's school funding shortfall, effectively closing Ms. Hutchison out of a gubernatorial primary challenge. Instead, he talks mostly about new academic and financial standards for schools. He appears content with the Legislature's funding proposals.


Unlike Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, who's more likely to enter the GOP governor's race because she darn well wants to, Ms. Hutchison doesn't want to take this big leap without the right opening. She sells well across Texas, drawing about two-thirds of the votes in her Senate races. She particularly resonates with suburban voters, including women in places like Plano who place a high priority on their children's schools.

Before the 2005 Legislature, Mr. Perry gave her some daylight. After an impressive stint as lieutenant governor in 1999, his first session as governor in 2001 ended with strained feelings because he vetoed a ton of bills. His swift pen angered even supporters.

Then came 2003 and the Legislature's mean budget battle. With the governor's backing, the House took deep cuts out of programs that help kids and the elderly. The House's approach pretty much prevailed because the governor didn't want legislators to raise taxes.

Mr. Perry's no-new-taxes theme continues in the school finance debate, fed by the anti-tax movement that conservative advocate Grover Norquist and others in Washington have turned into a cottage industry. "Everyone in Austin's been Norquistized," says one business leader.

But here's the rub: Schools don't get fixed without enough money. If Mr. Perry keeps low-balling the state's education investment over the next month – and if GOP Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst can't get the governor and House to budge – Ms. Hutchison has ample room to run. She can make the case that the governor didn't lead the state into the future.
Color me skeptical about McKenzie's column. McKenzie advocates that if Perry wants to be re-elected, then the guv ought raise taxes to pay for increased expenditures.

I'm very skeptical of the notion that GOP primary voters are clamoring for more state taxes, regardless of where the money is spent.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Similar situation in Nebraska?
It looks like Nebraska has a similar situation as Texas: a Capitol Hill officeholder wants to return home to run for guv against an incumbent.

From the Hotline:
Gov. Dave Heineman (R) "is coming under increased pressure" from nat'l GOPers to drop from the GOV race and instead challenge Sen. Ben Nelson (D). "The recruitment effort is being spearheaded" by the NRSC "and has picked up considerably in intensity" since Rep. Tom Osborne (R-03) announced his GOV candidacy. NRSC chair Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) "has not yet spoken with Heineman about the possibility directly" but will attend a NE GOP Founders Day event in Omaha 5/20. NRSC spokesperson Brian Nick: "We hope he gives it a good hard look. Any time a sitting governor is interested in running for Senate that is a great opportunity."
Heineman "has so far resisted the NRSC's entreaties," recently saying that on a scale of zero to 100 his interest in the race is "minus-1000 and dropping." But "given the political reality he faces, many observers expect him to at least entertain the contest if he wants to remain in politics" beyond '06. Facing Osborne "in a statewide primary is almost assuredly a losing proposition for Heineman, according to public and private polling."
A SEN race "would not present Heineman with the same mountain to climb" -- at least for the GOP nomination. Elected Treas. in '94 and '98, he "rejected urgings to consider entering" the '00 Senate race, insisting he was focused on one day serving as GOV. NE GOP chair Mark Quandahl "said he has had several recent discussions with Heineman about the possibility of him running" for SEN. Quandahl: "He made it pretty clear to me that he would not be inclined to run for the United State Senate. He feels his talents are best suited in the executive branch" (Cillizza, Roll Call, 5/10).

Friday, May 06, 2005
Who's on the right?
John Moritz, FWST:
A national organization that promotes Republicans who support abortion rights removed U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's name Wednesday from its list of advisory board members and from the list of candidates it will endorse in next year's elections.

Hutchison's office said the senator did not request that her name be removed. But Gov. Rick Perry's campaign, which views Texas' senior senator as a potential rival in next year's GOP gubernatorial primary, suggested that Hutchison was trying to camouflage her position on one of the hot-button issues among Republican activists.

"It looks like she's trying to hide from her record," said Luis Saenz, a spokesman for the Perry campaign. "Governor Perry is very proud of his record when it comes to issues dealing with the unborn."

The national organization, called The Wish List, would not say why Hutchison's name was removed.

Hutchison has consistently supported abortion rights, sometimes putting her at odds with social conservatives, who have a strong influence in Republican primaries.
Meanwhile, Wayne Slater writes up Perry's speech at a recent prayer breakfast
Gov. Rick Perry, who is counting on the support of social conservatives in his re-election bid, told a religious audience Tuesday that "America was founded on our Christian faith" and that prayer can help guide government policy.

"From the earliest days of the republic, our leaders have called upon Americans to join together in prayer," Mr. Perry told the Texas Prayer Breakfast.

The Republican governor said God "chooses to involve himself in the affairs of men – and not just the major issues that we deal with, but in every issue."

Facing a possible challenge in next year's Republican primary, Mr. Perry has cast himself as a social conservative and courted opponents of abortion and gay marriage.

"That's a base of support he absolutely has to have," said Richard Murray, a University of Houston political science professor.

Mr. Perry's address Tuesday to several hundred people attending the prayer breakfast struck strong religious themes and produced a standing ovation. The breakfast was part of National Day of Prayer.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005
AP on anti-TTC rally
The AP wire:
About 250 farmers and ranchers rallied at the Capitol today to protest Governor Rick Perry's Trans Texas Corridor.

Critics say the highway project will gobble up the property of rural land owners.

Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn joined the demonstrators and called Perry's associates "land-grabbing highway henchmen."

She also called the governor's plan the "Trans Texas Catastrophe."


Spokesman Robert Black also says Strayhorn in the past has supported toll roads.
RG Ratcliffe writes in the Chron:
Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn got farmers, ranchers and small-business owners whipped into a frenzy at a Capitol rally Tuesday as they called for Gov. Rick Perry's impeachment over the land-condemnation provisions of his Trans-Texas Corridor plan.

"Perry and his hand-picked highway henchmen say we have a choice: no roads, slow roads or toll roads," Strayhorn said. "I say to Governor Perry and his highway henchmen: Hogwash. Vote our way today for freeways."

Changes ahead
Several members of the Houston Coven have decided that my bare-bones two-minute-setup blogger template is lacking.

So there may be a significant upgrade in the days ahead.

I've written several times that I started this site on a lark, and that I was ambivalent about continuing it. That's why I've put zero effort into promoting it.

With the new digs, that may change. Maybe I'll even start putting some effort into this. Who knows?

The Kay and Nate show
Gromer Jeffers in the DMN:

Kay Bailey Hutchison wants Dallas County Republican Party Chairman Nate Crain to leave her alone.

"I'm trying very hard to focus on my job," she said after a speech last week at the Belo Mansion. "I just would hope that our party leaders would not be taking shots at an officeholder in the party who is trying very hard to do her job."


"There is a disturbing pattern about where this is headed," Mr. Crain said. "I don't want to see our party split."

Rick Neudorff, the Collin County Republican Party chairman, supports Mr. Crain.

"I would rather her not run and have campaign money sucked up in one race," he said.

Potential Republican campaign donors throughout the state have sent similar signals. But despite some institutional opposition, analysts consider Ms. Hutchison unbeatable in her own back yard.

Her campaign contends that Mr. Perry's organization is responsible for Mr. Crain's sniping.

"It says a lot about his leadership," said Terry Sullivan, campaign manager for Ms. Hutchison. "He needs to focus on the important things going on in our state, instead of worrying about re-election."

Luis Saenz, the governor's campaign director, said Mr. Crain is "his own guy" and that Mr. Perry was not involved in the party leader's spat with Ms. Hutchison.

Monday, May 02, 2005
The Weekly Weekend Roundup
1. Dean Barkley has joined Kinky Friedman's campaign as "campaign director and chief strategist." Barkley managed Jesse Ventura's campaign for governor of Minnesota and then was appointed US Senator by Gov. Ventura when Paul Wellstone died.

2. Senator Hutchison called the folks behind the Minuteman Project "very brave" and "caring." The Minuteman Project is volunteers who patrol the Arizona-Mexico border in the hopes of stopping immigrants from entering the US without documentation.

3. Rick Casey opines in the HouChron that the death of a campaign finance bill "could add considerable sizzle to a potential gubernatorial primary fight between" Perry and KBH. The dead bill would have prohibited outside groups from running ads in the days before an election.

Perry meets with Chronicle ed board
Clay Robison writes up Perry's sitdown with the Chron editorial board. The article mostly focuses on the CPS overhaul legislation and the controversial amendment banning homosexuals from being foster parents.

Cheers to In the Pink for the reminder to post this.

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