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

Anti-Washington Feelings Affect TX Governors Race

By Shelley Kofler, KERA News

Dallas, TX – Recent polls show Texans are more opposed than most to key Obama administration initiatives. Those sentiments are part of the reason Rick Perry continues to lead Bill White in the race for Governor. This week's Rasmussen poll gives Perry 50% to White's 41%. KERA's Shelley Kofler reports.

This week when the Rasmussen polling organization contacted Texans, it found 66 percent want Congress to repeal the new federal health care bill. That's well above the national average of 53 percent who feel that way.

Texans are also more opposed than most to the Obama administration's decision to challenge the Arizona immigration law in court. Some 64% of Texans disagree with that decision compared to 56 percent nationally who disagree.

Governor Perry successfully tapped into that anti-Washington fervor to defeat Kay Baily Hutchison for the republican party nomination. He cozied up to the Tea Party movement, rejected some federal stimulus money and railed against the EPA's crackdown on Texas for lax air quality enforcement.

Southern Methodist University's Cal Jillson says that strategy is still working for Perry.

Jillson: The idea of Washington intrusion into Texas politics is always there but it's more profound now because the threat seems more immediate. So Texans are responding to that in healthcare , energy policy and immigration. This really has been playing to Gov Perry's benefit.

Jillson says it's tough for democrat Bill White to overcome that Perry advantage without rejecting his own party and a lot of its fundamental principals.

The good news for White is that he's successfully raising money that will allow him to mount a television campaign. White says his campaign had $9 million cash on hand at the end of last month. Perry reported having less- $5.8 million. But whether White will use TV to counter the anti-Washington message isn't clear.

In an interview White said he thinks there is too much power concentrated in Washington, but he hasn't made it a central theme in his campaign.

Email Shelley Kofler