August 24, 2003
Bill White update

Two recent items of interest concerning Bill White's mayoral campaign. First is this report, via Greg Wythe, which says that the Harris County GOP is already running ads accusing White of being a liberal.

[Harris County Republican Party Chairman Jared] Woodfill says the county GOP decided to place the ads because White, the former chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, is attempting to win the support of Republican voters.

Woodfill says "Bill White has spent a lifetime trying to defeat conservative candidates," he said. "The last election, he supported Al Gore against President Bush on down to congressional and state representative races."

"When he was chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, he presided over one of the most liberal platforms in the history of Texas."

"Now, he is trying to define himself as an individual who is moderate to conservative," Woodfill claims.

Woodfill says the county GOP concluded that many Republicans "didn't know who (White) was."

"He was redefining himself and there was confusion," said Woodfill. "So as our role to educate Republican and conservative voters, we launched this campaign to identify who Bill White is."

"It is all based on truth," Woodfill insists.

Putting aside the question of whether or not White actually qualifies as a liberal, at least by someone who uses the label as something other than an insult, it seems to me that this is an indication that White is doing better than expected so far. Why bother spending money to attack the guy this early in the cycle if his numbers are lagging? Frankly, as a White supporter, I consider this to be good news.

Then there's the recent Metro vote for a scaled-back light rail extension. White is the only major candidate to support the plan as it is - Sylvester Turner wanted the bigger plan, Michael Berry wants no plan, and Out Of Town Orlando will check with his buddy Paul Bettenourt before announcing that he, too, wants no rail. This puts White in a position to get support from the Bob Lanier types, but may cause some defection from liberals into Turner's camp.

In my previous post, when I mentioned that some pro-rail supporters were upset by the Metro vote, some of them also directed some venom at White. White has opposed the termination of Metro giving road funds to the smaller cities in its jurisdiction, voiced support for delaying the November referendum, and has generally advocated a smaller rail plan than Turner has. These are all defensible positions, though I confess none of them are my first choice, but they all carry a risk of losing support from people who should be in White's corner.

All in all, a mixed bag. I really can't wait to see a poll. Is it Labor Day yet?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 24, 2003 to Election 2003 | TrackBack