NPR for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Video: Hutchison Scrambles for Votes

By Bill Zeeble, KERA News

Dallas, TX –

As Texas Primary election day approaches next week, KERA is following all 3 GOP Gubernatorial hopefuls. 90.1's Bill Zeeble spent time with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison as she campaigned in North Texas Tuesday.

It's 8:15 in the morning, and Kay Bailey Hutchison greets a few dozen supporters at her first stop of the day, a Denton town square caf . As the election clock ticks toward March 2nd , Hutchison is rushing to catch up with Rick Perry, still ahead in the polls. She says she's up to the challenge.

Hutchison: It is an uphill climb because Governor Perry has "fuzzied" my record. He hasn't told the truth in his ads. He's trying to make me part of Washington when I'm fighting Washington. I was there last night voting against another big spending bill. If we're going to have fiscal responsibility in Texas, I'm the one who'll do it.

Perry's campaign isn't so sure. It says Hutchison has a 17 year record in Washington of voting for bailouts, earmarks and record deficits while Perry cut taxes and created jobs.

In the caf , as the Senator spreads her message to the others, independent air-conditioning businessman Robin Wilson eats breakfast and says he's a Republican all the way, but is undecided.

Robin Wilson: It's a tough choice, but it's a choice we'll make.

Wilson says the gun issue is big to him.

Robin Wilson: That's pretty important, right. The right to keep our guns, the right to keep and bear arms. I think she's for that, too.

It's not quite an hour later. Time to move on. Hutchison travels Southeast in her black and brown campaign bus, with a sign reading Declare your independence and others with her name. She carries her message to Justin Texas, home of the famous Justin Boots, and next stop. Among those to meet her is Alan Charles, a retired kitchen designer. He built his career in California, but happily moved here 3 years ago.

Alan Charles: One day I told my wife, I got fed up, California was just too much for me, the liberal, the things that were going on, I said we got to get the heck out of here.

Charles says at first he favored Debra Medina. Then he heard her interviewed by Glen Beck, and learned she had questions about our government's possible involvement in the 911 attacks.

Charles: I decided to switch camps. I don't really care for Rick Perry. I'm kind of tired of snake oil salesmen as politicians. I have a problem with that. He just has this grin and good ole boy attitude.

Hutchison buys a western blouse at Justin Boots - and with the campaign clock still ticking - heads 35 miles south to a Fort Worth barbecue restaurant. Again she meets n' greets, shakes hands, talks Texas with voters in her retail politics romp. She plays a new web ad criticizing Perry's Trans Texas corridor plan and its threat to land owners. The woman in the ad is Laura Jean Gronow, who shows up at one of these stops. She says her ranch might've been taken for a road if the plan hadn't petered out. How much of it?

Laura Jean Gronow: From the map it looks like the whole thing. Plus the neighboring little community it looked like it would wipe out the community where I grew up.

Needless to say Gronow, like many on this day-long, mostly small-town tour, backs Hutchison. By the time the Texas sun sets, Hutchison's bus had rolled from Denton to Granbury to Waxahachie on a campaign race to win more votes for next Tuesday.

Email Bill Zeeble