Houston Mayor Bill White says he is considering dropping out of the race for U.S. Senate and instead making a bid for the Governor's office, he said in a news conference Monday.
"Since Friday a week ago, Texans from all backgrounds have asked me to consider running for Governor of Texas," White said. "I agree to consider running for that office and will make a decision by Friday, December 4."
Now in the next paragraph it seems to be clear that this is more than a mere consideration.
White said he believes he could beat Perry in a head-to-head match up next fall, reminding reporters that the Governor won re-election with 39 percent of the vote in 2006. "I'm disappointed in Governor Perry's failure to make tangible progress in addressing the dropout race, fighting polluters, and I could go on and on," he said. "If I don't step up and do this, Texas faces several more years of highly-charged wedge politics and a lack of leadership, and Texas cannot afford that."
And about that meeting in Dallas with Boyd Richie and the other candidates ...
Texas Democratic Party leaders have been hastily arranging a new slate of candidates for the November, 2010 election, assuming White makes a run for the top of the ticket. Other Democratic candidates for Governor are reportedly meeting with party leadership at a meeting in Dallas this afternoon. According to 11News partner WFAA-TV in Dallas, TDP leadership said it will not back any specific candidate for governor in the primary, and other candidates remain in the race.
Jason Embry is a little more conspiratorial ...
A source inside one of the Democratic gubernatorial campaigns says that state party chairman Boyd Richie called a summit of the Democratic governor candidates (and candidates only) for 2:30 p.m. today at a Dallas law firm. The stated purpose early this month was to talk out guidelines for how the party would be involved and to make sure everyone was going to be aboard to endorse the eventual nominee. But this source speculates that this is some kind of gambit for Richie to blow everyone’s minds with Bill White as the candidate in favor. Same source says every candidate is committed to coming.
Tom Schieffer, in withdrawing today, not only endorsed White but called for the other candidates to clear the field for him. Hank Gilbert and Farouk Shami quickly -- and Kinky Friedman a bit more slowly -- responded that they would all remain in the race. First, Gilbert's spokesperson Vince Liebowitz:
"The departure of Tom Schieffer and the possible entry of Bill White into the governor’s race doesn’t change anything for Hank’s campaign. We're going to continue to stay the course, and we welcome all comers into the governor's race. Hank remains the only candidate in the race who has proposed bold common sense policy initiatives, and has actually proven that he has new innovative ideas to move Texas forward into the 21st Century. It's not going to change our base of grassroots support, and I'm sure that the departure of Ambassador Schieffer from the race will likely bring some more people over to our side. We welcome Mayor White if he wants to get into the race, but it’s not going to change anything for us."
"I came to America with $71 in my pocket and founded a multi-billion dollar company that has created thousands of jobs for Texans. Even Rick Perry says I embody the American Dream. I got into this race to create jobs for Texans, and that's why I'm sticking in this race. Let's have a positive Democratic Primary dedicated to discussing how to create the most jobs for Texans, and no matter who's part of that discussion, Texas will be better off."
Lastly, Kinky's spokeswoman Rania Batrice in responding to Schieffer's departure ...
"Our campaign plan was never dictated by who was or wasn't in the race. Our strategy has been and will continue to be one of common sense and honesty. Returning power to the people is Kinky's top priority, and that includes education reform, justice reform, and insurance reform."
That's the wrap for today on the topic of the day.