New Poll Shows Perry Leads; White in Hunt

A new poll says shows that if the general election for Governor were held today Democrat Bill White would lose to Republicans Kay Bailey Hutchison and Rick Perry. But White believes he can overtake a GOP rival, and some Republicans will help him do it. Shelley Kofler reports.
This week's Rasmussen poll shows Perry holding a 10-point lead over Hutchison.

But when pollsters asked likely Texas voters to choose between Republican frontrunners and Democratic contender Bill White, they found Perry more vulnerable. Perry leads White by 10 points. Hutchison leads White by 15 points.

White, a three-term Houston mayor, is traveling the state and believes he could close the gap against a Republican opponent once Texas voters get to know him. White believes he'd have plenty of time to make that happen after March 2, when public attention has shifted away from the contentious GOP primary.

White set the stage for a face off with Perry, claiming Hutchison supporters are already offering to cross party lines and back him.

White: "I'm getting a number of people out there who I can tell you are supporting both me and Senator Hutchison. A number of people tell me- I meet them everyday – they are supporting Senator Hutchison and they are not optimistic about her chances in the primary and they want to join our campaign."

The Hutchison campaign could not be reached to comment. White faces primary opposition from millionaire businessman Farouk Shami of Houston and five others. Most observers say White's political backing, government experience, and ability to raise money make him the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.