DALLAS—Rick Perry, Texas's telegenic Republican governor, is facing an election challenge by a well-funded Democrat. He hardly seems to have noticed.
Mr. Perry is as likely to attack President Barack Obama on the stump as he is his actual opponent, Democrat Bill White, a former Houston mayor. He didn't even show up at the two gubernatorial debates, leaving Mr. White plenty of air time to attack his policies. (Gov. Perry vowed not to debate until Mr. White released tax returns predating his mayoralty; Mr. White said his opponent had no right to set such conditions.)
So far, the strategy seems to be working for Mr. Perry, who already is the longest-serving governor in Texas history and has been whispered about as a possible presidential candidate in 2012, though he has said he isn't planning to run.
The most recent polls show him leading Mr. White by 8 to 10 percentage points, despite millions the Democrat has spent on TV ads. In the past few weeks, he has outspent Mr. White.
Observers here say it is difficult for Mr. White to overcome the combination of running in a Republican-leaning state when many Texans are rallying against Democrat initiatives in Washington that have been extremely unpopular here. Although Gov. Perry has been in office for 10 years, Mr. White has been unable to channel the fervent anti-incumbent sentiment in the state against his opponent, they add.
While Mr. White rails about his administration, Gov. Perry's campaign has been wooing supporters by raffling off meetings with famous athletes and sponsoring a Nascar race car. Gov. Perry, who sports a well-coiffed mane and sometimes wears golden cufflinks engraved with a lone star, has a tough, don't-mess-with-Texas persona—whether shooting a coyote with a laser-sighted pistol to protect his dog during a jog, or suing the federal government over environmental policies he believes will kill jobs in the state.
"I'm beyond disappointed with a Washington culture that operates from the presumption that they're simply smarter, they're more responsible and better-intentioned than anyone else outside the Beltway," he said recently at an event organized by Texas Oil and Gas Association.
"He really understands the oil industry," one woman in attendance whispered to a bystander, as she aimed her camera at the governor.
Rick is cool... Bill White is cracking under pressure...
The New York Times also did a bird eye's view and found that Rick rarely mentions Bill White (link). Excerpt follows...
“You can’t spend your way to prosperity — it’s impossible,” Mr. Perry said, echoing an article of faith among Tea Party supporters. “We are going to send them a powerful message on the 2nd of November.”
Mr. Perry’s message, though, did not include a single mention of his opponent, Bill White, a Democrat and former mayor of Houston.
With a week to go, polls suggest that Mr. White has been unable to close in on the governor. As a result, Mr. Perry appears poised to serve a fourth term — unprecedented for a Texas governor — barring some game-changing development in the next few days, several pollsters and political strategists said.
Nice... this reminds me a lot of the Rick vs. Kay race... Rick rarely mentioned Kay by name... the same thing is happening here... it is the rhetoric of a winner...