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Bill White

Turn Texas Blue: It Starts With A Conversation

by: Joe Deshotel

Sun Oct 06, 2013 at 10:30 AM CDT

Now that Wendy Davis has made her Gubernatorial bid official, Texas Democrats turn their focus back to a goal that has eluded the party since the state's last female Governor -- turning Texas blue.  

The Texas Tribune's Evan Smith sat down with state Senator Leticia Van de Putte, former Democratic candidate for Governor Bill White and Battleground Texas founder Jeremy Bird for a discussion on the topic.

The raw numbers seem nearly insurmountable in a single election cycle, but all panelists agreed that changing the state's political landscape wasn't just a long term goal but a safe one to bet your money on. How soon and successful a return on that investment might be will depend on the quality of candidates who fill the ballot and the amount of financial support they can garner, the strength of the state and local parties, and how many new voters they can get to the polls.

Republicans are taking notice and though some like Governor Rick Perry, who are on their way out, dismiss the newfound efforts from the left, his party's candidates are taking it very seriously.  

Click below the jump to find out what these top Democrats think it will take...

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Mystery Houston-Area Democrat Starts Building Statewide Team

by: Joseph Vogas

Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 00:01 PM CDT

Late last night, the following job listing appeared on Texas Blue Pages, a website designed to "connect professionals in the fields of progressive politics and advocacy to career opportunities and resources."

Democrat seeks a fundraising assistant/scheduler/travel aide for statewide exploratory effort. Based in Houston area. Pay based on experience. Must have reliable transportation. Full-time job starts Aug. 15. Email resume and cover letter to christine@christineslist.org. No phone calls.

Christine's List is also a website designed to place professionals in careers of public policy as it relates to politics, communications, non-profits, and more and is not specifically limited by any political ideology. Christine's List is a professional site to go to for finding a job on campaigns, not far away from the existing establishment sources such as the state party, Annie's List, and unions where a staffer could have been quietly recruited and transferred rather than publicly recruited. Further, this persons is hiring a regional fundraiser, which implies they understand how a campaign should be structured, implying that they are likely a professional and will be taking this campaign seriously.

The one other clue we have is that the job is Houston based. Because this is a statewide offer, this may be a head fake or the offer may be for this person to work in a satellite office. However, because it is this early, and there are no other known regional fundraisers being hired, it is likely this is a Houston based candidate who is looking to hire in their main office.

So, who is it? Click below the jump to take a look at some brief profiles of potential Houston based candidates.

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PPP Polls: Texas' Unknown Leaders

by: Joseph Vogas

Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 07:11 PM CDT

(Thanks to Joseph Vogas for this critical look at the recent PPP poll of Texas. - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

Last week, Public Policy Polling (PPP) completed and published their latest round of polling of the Texas electorate.

Included in the poll was a  complete list of general election match-ups between Republicans Governor Rick Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott, and Senator John Cornyn against Democrats State Senator Wendy Davis, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, and former Houston Mayor and 2010 gubernatorial nominee Bill White.

In all twelve potential contests, the Democrats trail by anywhere from seven to nineteen points, but that story would bury the lead. The real story here is how unknown all potential candidates not named Rick Perry are by the Texas electorate.

Jump below the fold to see the details.

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2014 Texas Governor's Race: Democratic Primary Preview

by: Ben Sherman

Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 00:00 PM CST

The Republican primary is already getting spicy as donors choose between Attorney General Abbott and Governor Perry.

But what's happening on the Democratic side? With Battleground Texas swooping in to give our state the Democratic voter push it needs, the Democratic effort will be one to watch. There are a number of good candidates who may run, but little besides speculation to go on for now. We can expect to see candidate announcements in June, when fundraising commences.

Who's On Deck for 2014?

State Representative Mike Villarreal: Representing San Antonio in the Texas House since 1999, Mike Villarreal has gained a name for himself as a serious legislator with an appealing personality. After growing up in San Antonio, Villarreal went to Texas A&M and then Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and is now pursuing a PhD in public affairs at UT's LBJ School while teaching as an adjunct professor at St. Mary's University. He has spent the last three years focusing on education (a perfect issue to bring statewide) and budget transparency. Villarreal is young, a strong campaigner, and would certainly appeal to Texas's growing Hispanic voting population. The 123rd House District is safely Democratic, making Villarreal an even more appealing potential candidate for Texas Democrats.

Former Houston Mayor Bill White: The Democratic nominee for governor in 2010, Bill White has spent couple of years laying low in Houston while working in investments. White ran an impressive campaign all over Texas in 2010 that garnered national attention, and his loss is blamed in large part on the year's difficulty for Democrats nationwide. A poll released a few weeks ago by Public Policy Polling shows White leading Perry in a 2014 matchup, making a strong case for White's electability. White was a hugely successful mayor, and has a down-to-earth persona appealing to a broad swath of Texans. Earlier in 2010, White sought Kay Bailey Hutchison's Senate seat before she took back her promise to retire. So it's not impossible that White will seek Sen. John Cornyn's Senate seat in 2014. But no one knows what White will do yet - he hasn't said anything either way.

State Senator Kirk Watson: Austin's former mayor is a well-known, personable legislator who would appear to have the energy for a run at the governor's office. He ran for Attorney General in 2002, losing to Greg Abbott, but 2014 is a very different year. Watson might be able to capitalize on his ability to rev up Democrats, six years of experience in the Texas Senate, and plentiful ideas to make a serious run at the governor's office.

Longer shots include...

State Representative Rafael Anchia: Representing Dallas in the Texas House since 2004, Anchia is known as a likable, hard-working legislator. Anchia would certainly run a good campaign with his appeal to both Latinos and Texas's growing 18-35 year old Demographic. Any plans about future runs for office are not yet known.

State Senator Wendy Davis: An energetic and charismatic progressive who singlehandedly forced a special session in 2011 by filibustering the state's inadequate education funding, Davis would be a very good candidate for governor. She's been representing Fort Worth since 2009 and regularly makes lists of state legislators to watch. Even if she doesn't run in 2014, Democrats will be hoping she does soon. Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilbert Hinojosa recently said of Davis, "From the perspective of electability, she's one of our top superstars in Texas. Her sensibility and approach to politics will just automatically propel her as a top candidate for statewide office."

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro: San Antonio's mayor is the top Democrat in Texas and arguably the brightest rising star of Democrats nationwide. From his celebrated keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention to his upcoming autobiography, it's only a matter of time before Castro runs for higher office. But which office will that be? Castro just announced his re-election campaign in the 2013 San Antonio mayor's race, and says he's "not running" for governor in 2014. That's probably true, but he certainly deserves his place on this list - if only for all the buzz you'll hear about him around this race and others.

Whoever the candidate is, expect 2014 to be a year of energetic Democratic campaigning as Texas comes closer and closer to voting blue statewide.

Update: Thrillingly, State Senator Wendy Davis appears ready to run for governor.

Discuss :: (18 Comments)

Friday Wrap: Rick Perry, John Cornyn, Ted Cruz, Prop 1, Bill White, and Linda Harper Brown

by: Burnt Orange Report

Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 11:00 AM CST

It's time for the Friday Wrap, where your Burnt Orange Reporters comment on all the news that fits in a blockquote.

Starting us off, Katherine Haenschen says, when Texas politicos admit they're not already reading the wheninsession tumblr by Christina Gomez, I'm all like:

Below the jump, catch up on Rick Perry, John Cornyn, Ted Cruz, Prop 1, Bill White, Austin parking, and Linda Harper Brown.

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White Leads Perry: Poll Shows Need for Strong Democrat in 2014

by: Michael Hurta

Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 05:25 PM CST

For the first time in over a decade, a Democrat leads a Republican statewide in a public opinion poll. Sure, it's within the margin of error. And sure, we aren't close to an election and Republicans poll better as we get closer. And sure, the polls that truly matter (in November) show that Texas actually has a very long way to go before electing a Democrat.

But a scientific survey of Texans has a Democrat winning the state.

"If the candidates for Governor next year were Republican Rick Perry and Democrat Bill White, who would you vote for?" asked Public Policy Polling. 47% answered Bill White. 44% answered Rick Perry.

Before we go hootin' and hollerin' in excitement, let's remember that if Rick Perry wants to run for reelection to governor in 2014, Rick Perry is still the favorite. This is just one poll, and we don't even know if Bill White would want to run again. Rick Perry also leads other hypothetical match-ups against Democrats.

But Battleground Texas is getting Democrats excited to compete sooner rather than later and to aggressively campaign instead of simply waiting for demographics. If we're ready to bring the fight to a new level, we need a candidate, too. So, we only hear Greg Abbott's name when people speak of potential challengers to Rick Perry? We can't make Texas a battleground without strong candidates. And if nothing else, this poll shows that even as soon as 2014, a strong Democratic candidate can win Texas.

If you're still unsure; the reasoning is a two-step process. First, Rick Perry is the favorite if he runs again in the Republican Primary. Second, Rick Perry can be beat. But he clearly can't be beat by anybody, so we need someone to step up. Read on below the fold about these two steps.

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The Implications of State Senate Terms on 2014 Statewide Races

by: Burnt Orange Report

Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 10:23 AM CST

The State Senate drew straws yesterday to determine if each has a 2 or 4 year term before running for re-election. This is customary after an election following a redistricting year in which all Senators must run.

The draw has some major implications for our 2014 statewide races here in Texas on both sides of the aisle, starting, of course, with State Senator Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, a tireless campaigner who drew a 2-year term.

Many Democrats were eyeing Davis as a potential gubernatorial candidate in 2014 owing to her fundraising prowess and staunch support of education. Had Davis drawn a 4-year term, thus giving her a "free pass" to run statewide in 2014 without giving up her senate seat, she would have had tremendous encouragement to take the leap and run for governor. Now, her decision becomes somewhat more complicated.

Here are the results from SD-10 in the 2010 and 2008 statewide elections, courtesy of the Texas Legislative Council:

2010 Results in SD-10
38.9% Turnout

Rick Perry: 52.7%
Bill White: 44.6%
Margin: R+8.1%

Lieutenant Governor
David Dewhurst: 58.2%
Linda Chavez-Thompson: 38.8%
Margin: R+19.4%

2008 Results in SD-10
66.4% Turnout

John McCain: 52.1%
Barack Obama: 47.1%
Margin: R+5%

US Senate
John Cornyn: 52.1%
Rick Noriega: 46%
Margin: R+6.1%

Davis won election in 2008 by 2.4% over a Republican incumbent, and won re-election in 2012 by 2.3% over a former State Representative.

Below the jump, find out why Democrats should still be optimistic about Davis in 2014, and what the implications are for the Republicans.

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Bill White Says He Will Not Run for U.S. Senate in 2012

by: David Mauro

Tue Nov 16, 2010 at 09:27 AM CST

Two weeks after his loss to Gov. Rick Perry, the former Houston Mayor said he will not run for the U.S. Senate in 2012. Prior to entering the gubernatorial race last year, White had sought the senate seat many had expected Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to vacate. White additionally said he had no plans to run for office in 2014 either and was evaluating future business plans.

The announcement can hardly be described as surprising, though the timing of it may be earlier than many had expected. Former Texas Comptroller John Sharp has said he plans to run for the Senate in 2012 (although his website currently offers advice on how to find "the best male enhancement pills").

The Republican side will likely be crowded, as Railroad Commissioners Elizabeth Ames Jones and Michael Williams along with former Secretary of State Roger Williams and State Sen. Florence Shapiro were all planning on running in what they thought would be a special election. Whether they all ultimately run is unknown, but it seems unlikely.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst could be the Republican frontrunner, but his decision will not come until after the upcoming legislative session. Depending on the political climate, Democrats could see a legislator, or perhaps someone we have not even heard of yet, jump in after the legislature adjourns in May.

Update: As Robert points out in the comments, Hutchison has become well known for saying one thing and doing another when it comes to her future in the Senate. While I still expect her not to run again, Robert is right that given her history it is far from a sure thing. However, if she does choose to run again, Hutchison could find herself as a target for a challenge from the right in the Republican Primary.

Discuss :: (24 Comments)

Rick Perry to Launch National Book Tour, Won't Commit to Full Term as Governor

by: Phillip Martin

Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 05:54 PM CDT

Sign up to GOTV for Bill White this weekend.

Rick Perry has made two announcements of national significance this weekend: he is going on a national book tour and he won't commit to a full term as Governor.

First, on the book tour. From the Associated Press, "White, Perry each try to rally faithful in strongholds"

Speaking on a campaign plane between Lubbock and Midland, Perry said he would keep up the pressure by staging a book tour soon after the election. He said he's putting himself on the national stage to promote states' rights, not his own career. Asked if he might run for president in 2012, the governor said, "No. I've answered that about as many times and as many ways as I can."

Perry followed that up by saying he won't promise that he'll serve his full term as Governor. Also from the Houston Chronicle, "No slowing down for Perry, White as vote nears":

If his message propels him to another term as governor, however, Perry is not guaranteeing he will serve the full four years.

"I'm guaranteeing people that I'll get in there and do the best job I can for 'em as governor," Perry told reporters on a flight from Lubbock to Midland during Friday's West Texas campaign swing. "I just think it's always very premature to be making a statement about what you're going to be doing two, four, six or eight years from now - I don't ever take anything off the table."

Bill White released the following statement regarding Perry's national stage presence:

"Staging a self-promoting book tour in the face of a crisis? We deserve a real leader, not a yell leader. I will tackle the budget crisis by squeezing efficiency out of Texans' tax dollars, while Perry's going to be squeezing dollars out of his book tour," said Bill White.

"Only a relentlessly self-promoting, 25-year career politician could dream of launching a book tour three months before what will be the most important legislative session in decades as Texas faces down a $25 billion budget deficit. Texans are 'Fed Up!' with a governor who's only in it for himself and will be firing him on Tuesday. So he'll have a lot of time for those Barnes and Nobles in Iowa and New Hampshire," said Katy Bacon, campaign spokesperson.

Perry's national ambitions have been in question for some time. Jim Henson with the University of Texas thinks he'll run for President:

“I don’t think anybody should expect Rick Perry to announce any plans he has when he’s concluding a campaign that was hinged on defining Washington, D.C., as toxic,” said James Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project and a lecturer in the government department at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Henson predicted Perry’s debut in the race for presidential nominee: His supporters will draft him as a successful governor who must come albeit reluctantly — to Washington to clean it up.

We'll see what happens. Perry has been polling in Iowa...

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Rick Perry Cleaned Records for Thousands of Sex Offenders

by: Phillip Martin

Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 10:11 AM CDT

For six years, Rick Perry let as many as 2,000 sex offenders roam free -- and we know full well that at least one of those sex offenders returned to Texas.

The hammer has dropped. No more puppies and kittens. From Bill White himself:

"Rick Perry cleaned the records of thousands of convicted sex offenders who were deported and kept this policy until we confronted him about it," said White. "Perry even let deported criminals keep valid drivers licenses." 

"Because of Perry's failure to secure the border, local police spend their time arresting illegal immigrants who commit crimes every day, as they did when I was Houston's mayor," said White.

The facts are absolutely damning. Here's what happened:

From the time Rick Perry took office until the time Rick Perry took office until October of 2006, he maintained a policy at the Texas Department of Public Safety that allowed sex offenders to be removed from the registry once they were deported. It wasn't until Bill White himself directed Rick Perry to change the policy that any policy was changed.

The Houston Chronicle: "Database changed to include deported illegal immigrants"

More than 2,000 illegal immigrant sex offenders, whose names were absent from a public statewide database because they were deported, have been restored to the Texas Department of Public Safety public Internet site after a Houston police officer's slaying a month ago.

Andy Kahan, director of the crime victim's office for Houston Mayor Bill White, said today he asked the Texas DPS to review its policy to not include deported offenders in the public database after an illegal immigrant, Juan Leonardo Quintero, was arrested Sept. 26 in the shooting death of Officer Rodney Johnson.


The decision puts 2,084 names of deported offenders back on the list that's accessible to the public, DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange said.

Yes -- that same Officer Johnson Rick Perry is lying about was killed by a sex offender who was deported -- then removed from the sex offender database and proceded to return to Texas across a border Rick Perry has failed to protect for ten years.

More from the Bill White campaign:

 The Crime Victims Office of Houston Mayor Bill White confronted Rick Perry's Department of Public Safety about why it had a policy of dropping sex offenders from the sex offender registry once deported. 

The letter is available at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/40069352/Houston-to-Perry-Letter 

Within weeks of receiving the letter, Perry's DPS changed the policy, restoring 2,084 criminals to the sex offender list. 

Houston Mayor Bill White's Chief of Staff called Steve McCraw, head of the Department of Public Safety, and alerted him to the fact that a criminal drug trafficker who had been deported was able to keep a Texas driver's license. 

All municipal and county law enforcement depend on DPS databases to check driver's licenses and criminal backgrounds.

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