The 2010 elections are less than two months away, and the constituents of Texas have yet to see a gubernatorial debate.
The current news surrounding Texas politics seems to be the assumption that Texas gubernatorial candidates, former mayor Bill White and incumbent Gov. Rick Perry have been avoiding a public debate.
Political science professor Kent L. Tedin said he feels that a public debate between the two candidates will not make much of a difference with regards to the polls anyway.
“Perry has little to gain and a lot to lose,” he said. “I don’t think he’s got any upside to debating White. He’s ahead in the polls.”
Tedin also expressed his thoughts about what changes could possibly come about within UH after the November elections.
“Perry has appointed every single one of the Board of Regents at UH, of course they are all Republicans, and, might I add, I think they have done a very good job,” Tedin said. “If White is elected, of course, he will appoint all Democrats, and they might take a somewhat different approach to what UH should stand for and should be, so I think it would determine who is appointed to the Regents.”
Perry has requested that Democratic nominee, Bill White, publicly release tax returns from his time working in public service.
“He’s got an easy out to the debate, because White’s not going to release his taxes; most Republicans are going to vote Republican, and most Democrats are going to vote Democrat,” Tedin said.
Both candidates have publicly released tax returns for their time as elected public officials.
In an article released by the Dallas Morning News on Sept. 14, White said that he does not intend to release more information as a condition to debate.
“He’s a career politician who thinks that giving your opponent an opportunity to debate is a favor to the other campaign that should be withheld or bestowed on your terms, that’s the wrong principle,” White said in the news release. “Public debate is a principle of accountability that is owed to the public. He wants to avoid a debate.”
Political science teaching assistant Bianca Easterly said she feels that all candidates should debate.
“For Perry to not want to debate is problematic, I don’t think that any candidate can afford that kind of arrogance,” Easterly said. “He needs to debate — whether he’s incumbent or not — because White is definitely a strong contender.”
Easterly said that there are real issues that need to be addressed outside of the mudslinging and accusations between the two candidates.
These two gubernatorial candidates are not the only elected officials that have been unwilling to debate over real issues.
According to a press release sent out by Daniel Miller, president of The Nationalist Movement, seven other elected officials in Texas have been asked to publicly debate and have not responded.
In March, a letter from seven Texas legislators was sent to Attorney General Gregg Abbott, in which they expressed their disappointment in Abbott’s decision to sign on to a lawsuit against the Federal Government about the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Miller has challenged these seven legislators to a public debate regarding this issue and has yet to receive a response.
Miller feels that the media is continuously focusing on a debate between two candidates that seemingly have similar policy issues, but has yet to address the disinterest of seven other state legislators to debate over a more pressing issue.