Monday, October 23, 2006

Texas Election Could End in Surprise

I’m not accustomed to being an undecided voter. I’m the type of well-informed, highly opinionated voter who usually chooses a candidate six months or more before an election. But here I am just two weeks before election day and I don’t know who I’ll pick for Texas governor.

I’m not alone. In an informal survey of friends and family, I have yet to find one person who is 100% sure what they’ll do in the voting booth. Almost all agree Rick Perry, the incumbent governor, needs to go. But no one seems quite sure with which of the three major challengers we should replace him.

Admittedly unscientific, my polling of friends and family may indicate we Texans are in for a surprise. The conventional wisdom is that Perry will get just enough of the vote to win reelection with a plurality (around 30-35%). But all observers agree that the election is far from decided. If a good deal of anti-Parry voters converge on one candidate, then we’re going to have a new governor in Texas.

Right now, Democrat Chris Bell looks to be in the best position to gain the momentum necessary. But he still has to overcome a wet-blanket image that has left a lot of us voters looking to the much-more personable and fiery independent candidates Kinky Friedman and Carole Keeton Strayhorn. He also has to overcome his party’s immense weakness in this state.

Personally, Bell is third on my list of candidates for whom I’d vote. But I’m growing more and more disillusioned by Friedman and people who know Strayhorn keep telling me negative things about her. So Chris Bell has an outside shot to win my vote.

It’ll be interesting to see how the election breaks.

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