The first contested Republican primary debate for Texas governor in 20 years is scheduled to occur on statewide television tonight as Gov. Rick Perry tries to fend off challenges from U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and activist Debra Medina.
The debate will be broadcast live locally in Houston at 7 p.m. on KUHT Channel 8, KTRK-DT Channel 13.2 and at 10 a.m. Saturday on KXLN Channel 45 (Univision in Spanish), as well as airing on radio on KSEV, 700 AM; KTRH, 740 AM; and KUHF, 88.7 FM.
An Internet live stream of the debate can be obtained from www.TexasDebates.org.
That Medina won the right to be in tonight's debate means she can already claim probably as much victory as she will see in this primary. She is popular with the TeaBaggers and Libertarians but so far that translates into 5% in the polling. She should do much better than this; Larry Kilgore managed 7.58% four years ago (he dropped out of this contest last month and endorsed Medina) and further, the sum of the "not-Rick-Perry" faction earned almost 16%. If that happens again this March -- and Kay can pull 35% -- then you're looking at a run-off. One that Perry likely still wins, but ...
Update: Peggy Fikac ...
GOP consultant Mark Sanders (who managed Carole Strayhorn's 2006 gubernatorial campaign) said the candidate to watch is Medina.
“She is the wild card. If she performs well, she could throw the gubernatorial election into a runoff ... It'll take more than just the debate, but she could be the anti-Washington, anti-incumbent candidate that many voters are looking for.”
The Pre-Game Show (the Texas Tribune's advance story)
Medina at the Ramparts (about her border policy)
Perry rakes in the money (but Kay actually has more)
Perry won't let Texas bid for federal education dollars (expect this to be a topic in tonight's debate)
Right Place, Right Time (Texas Monthly's Paul Burka on the governor's secret 2012 bid for the White House)
Perry for President: Conjuring the Apocalypse (a response to Burka from the Texas Observer's Bob Moser)
Charles Kuffner's summary (which includes the two links above)
Perry lacks trust in Texas voters (the Chron's Rick Casey)