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Political Report

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The Legislative Report
By SHEILAH PEPPER
The Gazette Staff
Heading into the final days of their primary contest, Gov. Perry and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison headed out across the state for the home stretch of the campaign.
At one event, Gov. Perry said that about 1,000 people are moving to Texas every day. "Texas is the envy of 49 other states, even if they won't admit it," he said. At this event he was introduced by a woman who said that when she and her husband retired in upstate New York, they looked for a state where they could feel economically secure and chose Texas.
Perry said, "The one-size-fits-all mentality that Washington pushes down on the states will not work."
He added, "Get out of the way, government, and let the private sector do what it does best - create jobs." At another event, he said, "There is a land of opportunity today in America, and it is called Texas. As long as I am governor, I will tell Washington ‘no' to cockamamie ideas that will hurt our economy and hurt Texas."
Referring to the popular Tea Party movement, Perry said, "What is occurring now, and has been since April 15th of last year, is that people are reading the Constitution and they're thinking about how their government is working - how it's supposed to work."
He concluded, "Our democracy is becoming energized ... People are as engaged as I've ever seen them. That's good."
The Hutchison camp shot back. A spokesman for the Senator said Perry has amassed too much power for himself while letting the Republican Party's statewide power diminish. However, some recent reports indicate that as many as 53 Democrats across the state at various levels have joined the GOP.
Another Hutchison spokesperson said the Senator was a "party-builder" and that there is "a difference between a statesman and a politician, and she is a statesman."
But an undecided voter said that because Texas is in pretty good shape, it is hard to argue against a governor who has done fairly well.
Recent polls showed Perry with a comfortable lead as early voting got underway. They showed the Governor with 45 percent of likely Republican voters while 29 percent backed Sen. Hutchison and 17 percent supported Debra Medina with eight percent undecided.
However, it must be noted that these numbers were polled just before Medina made a major misstep on the Glen Beck national radio program. Beck, in effect, asked her if she put any credence in claims by so-called "9/11 Truthers" that the U.S. government had a role in bringing down the World Trade Center. Instead of simply answering "no", Medina offered a lengthy answer, to the effect that she did not have all the facts about it, but knew that some people had questions.
Her answer subsequently received wide coverage in the media. Some reports have said her answer could allow Perry to win with more than 50 percent of the vote and avoid a runoff with Hutchison.
Perry, with someone from Washington running against him, has run a consistently anti-Washington campaign, fitting right in with the prevailing mood. This strategy - running like an ‘outsider' may serve the Governor well in what is looking like an anti-incumbent year.
In another interesting poll, voters said, by a narrow margin, that they would prefer to support our transportation system in Texas via toll roads, rather than a tax increase or reductions in services. Perry has been a supporter of a system that would include toll roads.
On the Democrat side, most seem to agree that Bill White of Houston has a comfortable lead over the six others running in the primary.
If you haven't voted early, everyone is urged to get out and vote on Tuesday both for statewide and local candidates and, for Republicans, to answer the five propositions that are on the ballot. Your vote is a powerful instrument.