"Perryless" Debate Could Help White

It could be the debate that nobody watches. Three candidates for Texas Governor will take part in a live debate tonight. Missing from the action will be the incumbent. One expert talks about what that might mean to Governor Rick Perry and challenger Bill White. Pat Hernandez has more.
Democrat Bill White, Libertarian Kathie Glass and Green Party nominee Deborah Shafto face off tonight. Republican Rick Perry has declined to take part, holding steady to his insistence that White release more of his tax records.

Democrat Bill White, Libertarian Kathie Glass and Green Party nominee Deborah Shafto
From right to left: Democrat Bill White, Libertarian Kathie Glass and Green Party nominee Deborah Shafto

So the big question one must ask, who benefits? Dr Christina Hughes teaches political science at UH.

"Oh, I think it benefits Rick Perry, because he doesn't have to go head to head with Bill White, and I think it harms Bill White because he doesn't get a chance to to head to head with Rick Perry."
 
Hughes says another reason for Perry's no-show tonight could be his standing in the race to keep his job.

"That could be, although earlier they were pretty closely tied earlier in the polls. But it could be it doesn't benefit him to have to go head-to-head with Bill White since he's ahead in the polls. He's got more money to spend than Bill White, and instead he can just run his ads unanswered."    

Pundits have analyzed the stalemate with some saying that while transparency is great. It's not up to the candidates to decide what their competition has to do to be in compliance with running for office.

To his credit, White has released his records for the last six years, made available the records of his income and more than complied with what's required by state ethics laws. Still, Dr Hughes says tonight's debate could help White, even without Perry present.

"I think White still needs to participate in the debate with the other candidates, because it does give him an opportunity to at least, maybe reach some voters that don't know about him."

So, the debate by five newspapers and an Austin television station goes on, regardless of who doesn't show up. Some say the losers will be the voters of Texas.

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...