Friday, October 15, 2010

Election 2010: Race for Texas Governor

The race for Governor of Texas is underway, and the loser has to take the job.

I'm joking, of course, but only slightly. Newcomers from other states don't always understand how little the Governorship actually matters here, coming as they do from states where Governors actually wield considerable independent authority. The Governor of Texas is, comparatively, a very weak position. The Lieutenant Governor is the person who actually has the job of presiding over the Legislature, and has considerable powers to influence legislation. The Governor's powers are mostly those of persuasion, and he is therefore largely dependent upon how much cooperation he gets from the independently-elected Lieutenant Governor.

There are three candidates worth mentioning, although in practice only the first two matter. The incumbent, Rick Perry, is running on the Republican ticket. Bill White, the former mayor of Houston, is running on the Democratic ticket. And Kathie Glass, a Houston lawyer, is running on the Libertarian ticket.

Rick Perry has not been an incompetent Governor. This is damning with faint praise, since a circus chimp could probably be trained to do the job. As I've said before, you could probably shave an ape and sew him into a Brooks Brothers suit, then shove him into the Governor's office, and it might be months before anyone noticed. He's done some pretty appalling things, like speaking favorably of secession, and quashing an investigation into the possible innocence of a man on Death Row. It would be a grand thing indeed if he got turfed come November.

Bill White is probably the strongest candidate the Democrats have run for Governor in ... well, quite some time. He's got a solid record as a businessman, and therefore cannot be easily attacked as anti-business. He had a good record as a three-term mayor of Houston, and probably would have been re-elected had he not been term-limited. And the race is a lot closer now than many would have predicted. White is running on Perry's fiscal record as Governor. Arguably, the Governor has damn-all to do with state fiscal policy; we do, after all, have a Comptroller as yet another elected office. Even so, it's been a fairly effective tactic. It's a fairly tight race as of late October. Intrade is giving Perry a 63% chance of victory. It was in the 80s and 90s as of a few months ago.

I know next to nothing about Kathie Glass, except that she's an attorney and a Libertarian. But since Satan will probably drive to work in a snowplow before she gets anywhere close to double-digits, it hardly matters.

The election is on Tuesday, November 2nd. Vote early, and vote often!

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