Primary Predictions in the Race For Governor

Early voting got underway today for the primary election in the governor's race. One local political scientist says it's easy to predict right now who'll grab the Democratic nomination. But the GOP race isn't so clear cut. David Pitman reports.

Former Houston Mayor Bill White should have no problem becoming the Democratic nominee for governor.  That's according to Rice University Political Science Chair Mark Jones.  He says White is the only credible candidate the democrats have.

"The other candidates, five of which have no money, no resources, and name recognition, are really not serious competitors.  And the one candidate, Farouk Shami, who has some money invested in the race, has shown himself not to be even close to a credible candidate."

Jones says the Republican primary could still result in an April runoff between incumbent Governor Rick Perry and U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.  He says one deciding factor will be how well Debra Medina can hang onto to what Jones calls her 'soft' supporters.

"Those are people who were supporting her more as a protest candidate, not because they were more-or-less committed to her ideology.  And in light of her unfortunate 9/11 statements, many of them may defect from her.  The real question is do they defect to Perry, do they defect to Hutchison, or do they not turn out?"

The latest poll by a consortium of Texas newspapers found Governor Perry at 45 percent, Senator Hutchison at 29 percent, and Medina with 17 percent.  The poll was taken before Medina's remarks concerning a government conspiracy in the 9/11 attacks.  Medina later said she does not believe the federal government was involved.

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David Pitman

Local Host, Morning Edition

The one question David hears most often isn't "What is it like to work for an NPR member station?" or "Have you ever met Terry Gross?" (he has)...