the suzi parker files

Politics, Pop Culture and Ponderings

Gov. Perry Wins Unprecedented Third Term in Texas

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Republican Rick Perry, Texas’ longest-serving governor, won an unprecedented third term Tuesday night.

His Democratic opponent, Bill White, the former mayor of Houston, gave Perry a strong challenge. It was the first election loss for White since beginning his political career in 2003.

Perry watched the election results at Texas Disposal Systems’ Exotic Game Ranch in Buda, a small town outside Austin.

Like Republicans all across the country, Perry used widespread anti-Washington sentiment to defeat his opponent. White said in interviews leading into Tuesday’s election that Perry rehashed GOP talking points and used President’s Obama slipping popularity to nationalize the race instead of defending his own record. Perry seldom mentioned White, who worked as the deputy secretary of energy in the Clinton administration in the 1990s.
While White, a lawyer, earned endorsements in the The Dallas Morning News and the The Houston Chronicle, he had an uphill climb. The Morning News wrote that Perry had done “relatively little during a decade at the helm of state government.”
Perry became governor in 2000 when George W. Bush resigned from office to seek the presidency. He has since run twice, fending off a long line of challengers. Earlier this year, he defeated Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson and businesswoman Debra Medina in the Republican primary.
In 2006, Perry faced Democrat Chris Bell as well as author and comedian Kinky Friedman. In 2002, Democrat and businessman Tony Sanchez spent $75 million on the race but won just 40 percent of the vote.
Perry seized the tea party movement early, pondering Texas’ secession from the union at a tea party rally last year. At the time, he said, “My hope is that America, and Washington in particular, will pay attention. We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, who knows what may come of that? But Texas is a very unique place, and a pretty independent lot to boot.”
When asked about the secession comment, Perry told Politics Daily’s Matt Lewis, “I totally understand how distressed people across this country are at Washington and Washington’s disdain for people’s personal freedom.” He said he tipped his hat to the tea party for “getting people to go back and read the Constitution.”
White ran on his record as Houston mayor. He received the endorsements of environmental groups for pushing practical measures to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil with more production of domestic natural gas and greater reliance on other renewable domestic resources. He also touted Houston’s job growth under his leadership.
As late as Monday, White lobbed attacks on Perry. His campaign sent out a press release hinting that the governor might leave office early to run for president in 2012 and is just prepping himself for the national stage. The release also said that Perry was planning a tour for his upcoming book, “Fed Up: Our Fight to Save America From Washington,” soon after the election. Another potential candidate in 2012, Newt Gingrich, wrote the book’s foreword.
According to The Associated Press, Perry says in the book that he is fed up with “prohibition of school prayer, the redefinition of marriage, the nationalization of health care, the proliferation of federal criminal laws, interference with local education, the increased regulation of food — [Washington] even telling us what kind of light bulb we can use.”
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Written by suziparker1313

March 8, 2011 at 10:25 pm

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