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Political Report

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The Legislative Report


The Gazette Staff

Texas Governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry is proposing a flat tax and dumping our Byzantine 75,000 page federal tax code.

Details, scheduled to be released by Perry in the South Carolina speech this week, were unavailable at press time. In Las Vegas, he said, "I want to make the tax code so simple that even Tim Geithner can file his taxes on time."

Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan came under fire recently when several critics said that the plan would shift the tax burden from the wealthy to middle and lower income taxpayers.

After galloping to an early double-digit lead in the opinion polls, Perry has plunged in these same polls after lackluster debate performances although he seemed to move it up a notch at the recent Las Vegas debate.

However, it is way too soon to count Perry out. In his first 49 days alone, he raised over $17 million. By comparison, Herman Cain, while very popular, raised just over one million for the full third quarter.

Perry is highly telegenic and has a top-drawer communications/advertising team. That plus the money gives him a fighting chance against Mitt Romney's name recognition and deep pockets. TV ads will give Perry the chance to speak about issues on his terms, not those of a debate moderator. He also excels at face-to-face retail politics which may help him out in places such as Iowa.

Romney has been consistent, but he is not running away with the race. Any suggestion that Perry is going out is very premature. He should not be underestimated – he is dogged in his pursuit of objectives and he perseveres.

In the Texas U.S. Senate primary race, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, for the first time since August, joined his fellow contenders in facing Republican voters.

Former Solicitor General Ted Cruz, one of the candidates, had been jabbing at Dewhurst for ducking forums that offered the opportunity for head-to-head sparring. He even went so far as to send a fellow dressed in a duck costumer to Dewhurst events.

Cruz presents himself as a Tea Party candidate and has received some recognition and support from prominent national conservatives including National Review magazine.

He said at the recent forum, "This race represents a clear choice - a clear choice between our campaign and the campaign of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst." Cruz added, "I've got to tell you, the women in this room have some strokes because he's missed 13 events." Cruz casts himself as the conservative fighter and said that Dewhurst would "go along to get along."

Dewhurst for his part, in his remarks, didn't mention the other candidates but went after President Obama. He said, "For the first time in my life, I'm really worried about this country. Washington is broken."

Dewhurst and another candidate, former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, lead in the money department. Both men are wealthy. Dewhurst raised $2.64 million since entering the race in July and has put an added $2 million of his own money in. Leppert has raised $640,000 and added millions from his own pockets.

Cruz brought in one million for the quarter, bringing his total to about $2.8 million.