Perry, White clear winners in primary
Former Mayor Bill White and Gov. Rick Perry dominated their respective primaries in the Texas gubernatorial elections Tuesday, paving the way for a November election one professor predicts to be among the most competitive in years.
White, who comfortably led all Democratic candidates in polls leading up to the election, predictably triumphed over Houston businessman Farouk Shami with 75.4 percent of the vote.
Shami, White’s next closest competitor among a field of seven Democrats, came away with 12.3 percent.
Perry carried the majority of the Republican vote with 51.6 percent, compared to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s 31.1 percent and activist Debra Medina’s 17.3 percent.
Most political observers predicted Perry to win the majority of the vote under the presumption that he wouldn’t achieve the 50 percent of the vote needed to avoid an April runoff election.
Instead, Perry ran away with the victory, something political science professor Kent Tedin said he didn’t completely predict.
“There was no surprise (Perry) was going to win. Only a small portion of the total Texas electorate vote in the primaries, and they’re the most conservative,” Tedin said. “For him to get more than 50 percent of the vote would be less expected.”
Tedin said Perry has “a lot of vulnerabilities,” in a general election and predicted a competitive race in November.
“White matches up well against Perry because he’s not part of the Washington establishment and was a very popular mayor for a long time,’ Tedin said. “He doesn’t have a lot of vulnerabilities. Perry will say that he’s too liberal for Texas, but White runs a very clean campaign.”
A win in November would give Perry, who has held the office since George W. Bush left the post prior to becoming president in 2000, an unprecedented third term in the Governor’s mansion.
For Kay Bailey Hutchison, Tedin said her defeat was a result of “running a poor campaign” and overreaching to a conservative base that typically votes for Perry.
Tedin predicts Hutchison will no longer seek elected office after serving as one of Texas’ senator in the U.S. Congress since 1993.
The results are also consistent with the Daily Cougar’s March 1 poll, which had Perry and White comfortably leading their respective parties. About 53 percent of Republican voters said they supported Perry, while 86 percent of Democratic voters favored White.
Biology freshman Jennifer Nguyen cast her ballot for White on Tuesday. She’s pleased with the results.
“I’ve been a fan since he was mayor, and I feel like he has the best chance to get Perry out of office,” Nguyen said. “Congratulations to Perry, too, but I’m hoping for some change. I’m already excited.”