TX-Gov: Why Debra Medina Is a Serious Candidate for Governor

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Key Points of This Story

  1. Debra Medina is running for Texas Governor
  2. Debra Medina has huge, huge support of Ron Paul supporters, having actively worked for Paul in the past
  3. Libertarian newspapers are promoting Medina
  4. Medina is proposing a statewide ballot initiative to impose term limits
  5. Key GOP operatives (including Sarah Palin) may be trying to squash the growing Libertarian Party

1) Debra Medina is Running for Texas Governor

Debra Medina is a name you may not have heard about — especially if you read the newspapers, where she is completely ignored by the daily newspapers. However, she is a serious candidate for Governor, and could end up — depending on the choices she makes — having a major impact on the gubernatorial races in the upcoming primary and general elections in 2010.

Medina is a dedicated community activist that has rallied her support by appearing at Tea Parties, local community events, and pretty much anywhere you could imagine. Her website, MedinaforTexas.com was launched only a few days before the June 30 filing deadline, yet it looks professional. She will only report a tiny amount of cash-on-hand ($9,000, with $35,000 raised), which means that Rick Perry, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and most Austin Republican insiders will completely dismiss and ignore her campaign.

To do so would be wrong.

2) Debra Medina Has Huge, Huge Support of Ron Paul Supporters, Having Actively Worked for Paul in the Past

I'm not a fan of the Republican conservatives that write voer at Lone Star Times, and I'm pretty sure they're not about to invite me to be their Facebook friend. But they are widely read, highly regarded voices for the crazy Republican conservative base, and they have been covering Medina's campaign for a long time now. Here is what the Lone Star Times wrote about Debra Medina:

While they are most likely laughing and dismissing this campaign, Mrs. Medina continues to work hard, traveling across the state and speaking to any group willing to listen, be they Repbulican, Democrat, Libertarian or independent.

If you consider that the best guesses for voter turnout in the primary next March are between 600 and 800 thousand, factor in the momentum that Ron Paul voters have in various Republican precincts around the state and then throw in the vitriolic anger on display at the various Tea Parties around the state, you’ll begin to get the picture that Mrs. Medina is going to be a factor in the primary.

Now remember — Lone Star Times is a site that, every day, posts photos, videos, and articles that trumpet President Obama as a lunatic socialist and claim that the Republican Party is not doing enough to thwart his efforts. With that said, though, a few weeks ago the Lone Star Times ran an online poll of their readers on their website.

3) Libertarian Newspapers are Promoting and Covering Medina

The story of the poll was covered by the Houston Libertarian Examiner — and Medina blew Rick Perry out of the water:

1. Debra Medina – 62% (555 votes)
2. None of the above/Chuck Norris – 24% (211 votes)
3. Gov. Rick Perry – 11% (102 votes)
4. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison – 3% (27 votes)

Online poll activity, such as this, seems to reflect the results of U.S. presidential polls, from 2007 and 2008, concerning Congressman Ron Paul; considering many of Medina's supporters did indeed support Congressman Paul during his presidential race (likely because of Medina's widely known involvement within his campaign) it seems she has captured some of Paul's Internet success.

She also has 972 supporters on her Facebook page.

4) Medina is Promoting a Statewide Ballot Initiative to Impose Term Limits

All in all, I can understand how these things all build up to look like a cute campaign, and people can argue about whether or not her activism matters, or if it hurts Perry, or if its a sign of how much people don't like Hutchison (there is spin on conservative blogs suggesting each).

But she's certainly a presence, and what she's saying on the campaign trail is a much more disciplined message of limited government than what Perry or Hutchison can claim. For example — she has six proposed statewide initiatives (including one about term limits — the full text of which is below):

  • Life
  • Spending
  • Property Rights
  • State Sovereignty
  • Party Platform
  • Term Limits

    BE IT RESOLVED, The Republican Party of Texas should adopt a rule unilaterally establishing term limits as an additional eligibility requirement when seeking a place on the primary ballot for all state officeholders i.e., state representatives, state senators and all state-wide officeholders.

Can that be any more directed at Governor Perry? Remember — its still very, very early in the campaign season. All of these petitions can be downloaded, printed, and then distributed from the internet — which means all Medina has to do is drive internet traffic to her site. Libertarians from across the state — including the various chapters/groups of Ron Paul supporters — can just go out and do nothing but sign those petitions for months.

Will Medina defeat Perry or Hutchison? I certainly wouldn't bet on it. But will she raise her issues in the primary and general election campaign? Perhaps…if the Republican Party doesn't squash her out of existence first.

5) Key GOP Operatives (Including Sarah Palin) Could Be Trying to Squash the Growing Libertarian Party

I kid you not. Rush Limbaugh is perceived as the leader of the Republican Party. Well, look at this headline and story from RightSideNews (emphasis added):

Limbaugh: Palin Might Leave GOP For Third Party 

Radio show host Rush Limbaugh said Palin may leave the GOP and form her own because Republicans have “been just as mean-spirited to her as the Democrats” have. “When I watched her speech when she announced she was going to leave the governorship of Alaska, I didn't hear the word Republican mentioned once,” Limbaugh said.


In the past we have noted that the Republican party is pretty well split between Libertarian Republicans and Conservative Republicans. The Libertarian Republicans did not in fact have a voice until Ron Paul (R-Tex) emerged as a powerful candidate in the 2008 elections. The trouble with the establishment Republican party is that the wing of the party that Ron Paul represents is strong and getting stronger. It appeals actively to conservative Democrats and would actually be a fairly strong base around which to coalesce.

The problem, then, becomes how to take back control of the Republican party – an admittedly damaged brand – without granting Ron Paul the control that he and his supporters wish to take. The conclusion of the leadership wing of the Republican party is apparently that they need to launch new faces and rebrand the party. Sarah Palin fits both needs. She is a relatively fresh face on the Republican scene (a woman, too) – and just to make sure that the rebranding is complete, she is likely to help launch a new party.

So — is Governor Rick Perry going to bring Sarah Palin to Texas to help squash the Libertarian Party? Do you think Libertarians like Debra Medina — who are already trying to push ballot initiatives to force Republicans to honor the Party platform and impose term limits — are going to take that likely?

What happens if it becomes clear that the Republican Party is after her. Would she run as a Libertarian candidate? Could she stay in the Republican primary and then run as an independent candidate in the general? (No, that would be illegal…thanks for the note!)

Debra Medina is going to be around a lot the next few months. Republicans are already definitely taking notice, and Libertarians are gravitating to her at every turn. I was told by one Democrat who saw Medina at the July 4th tea parties (who was there to see what the Republicans were doing and saying) that Medina was a very impressive and impassioned public speaker.

Debra Medina — a serious candidate for Governor. But where will she ultimately run?

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About Author

Phillip Martin

Currently the Research and Policy Director for Progress Texas and the Texas Research Institute, Phillip Martin writes occasional long-form pieces for BOR that promote focused analysis and insight into Texas politics. Born and raised in Austin, Phillip started working in politics in 2003 and started writing on BOR in the summer of 2005. Phillip has worked for the Texas Democratic Trust, the Texas Legislative Study Group, and now the Progress Texas family. He is a lifelong Houston Astros fan, a loyal Longhorn, and loves swimming at Barton Springs Pool.

1 Comment

  1. David Kobierowski on

    Interesting post Phillip

    Ron Paul and the “Libertarian end” of the TX Repub Party has a respectable number of followers.  

    At last year's Repub TX State Convention in Houston, the Ron Paul movement was the only organized grassroots orgnization that I noticed.

    Also, recall a former Repub State Rep who was calling Libertarians by phone during Nov. 08' TX races and asking them to please drop out of the races;  Fearing that Libertarians would pull too many votes from Repub candidate.  

    Locally, Karen Huber was helped by a Libertarian (Wes Benedict) pulling votes from Daugherty for Travis County Commissioner.  Karen won that race but may have lost if Benedict didn't run.

    This story is worth keeping an eye on in the coming months to see how the Libertarian Party markets itself, how the media positions their message/overall brand, and who steps-up to get behind their effort.

    They have respectable numbers.  

    Pat Dixon, their State Chair, handed me a preso recently explaining their party.  Their issues included Election Reform, Social Tolerance/Individual Liberty, Property Rights, Education, Transportation, Taxes, and Government Reform.  Overall they want less gov and free market approaches.

    Will they earn the respect of the people and raise enough money?  We'll see.


    David Kobierowski

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