CAROLE STRAYHORN MAY RUN FOR GOVERNOR AS AN INDEPENDENT by Tom Pauken
by Scott Bennett
Thu, Dec 8, 2005, 01:35 PM
Carole StrayhornWayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News has an interesting story today on Carole Strayhorn’s possible candidacy for Governor as an independent. She had been expected to run as a Republican in the primary race against incumbent Governor Rick Perry. Carolyn Barta wrote about the race recently for the Dallas Blog, citing a new Texas poll which has Perry with a wide lead over Strayhorn among Republican primary voters – 55% to 24%. It is difficult to see how Strayhorn can make up that much ground between now and the March primary.
As Slater notes, much of Strayhorn’s financial backing is coming from well-known Democrats and plaintiff trial lawyers, a traditional Democratic constituency. Slater states that, among the hosts for an upcoming Austin fund-raiser for Strayhorn are "former Democratic Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes and Houston attorney Arthur Schecter, who served as U.S. Ambassador to the Bahamas under President Bill Clinton." Slater reports that some of her financial backers are encouraging Strayhorn to run as an independent.
People tend to forget that Carole Strayhorn is a fairly recent "convert" to the Republican party having previously been elected Mayor of Austin, generally acknowledged to be the most liberal city in Texas, as a Democrat.
Strayhorn’s campaign reportedly is polling voters as to whether they would support her for Governor if she ran as an independent. Kinky Friedman already has announced his candidacy as an independent, and Mrs. Strayhorn’s decision to do likewise would change the dynamics of the Governor’s race. Assuming that she could siphon off a significant minority of Republicans to support her in a general election, Carole Strayhorn has significant appeal among independents and Democrats to make her a far more serious contender as an independent than someone like Kinky Friedman. Moreover, were Strayhorn to switch and run as an independent, it might cause a more formidable Democratic candidate to jump into the race for Governor next year as well.