Democrats Debate for Governor

Democratic gubernatorial candidates Bill White and Farouk Shami will debate on Monday night. It’s the only scheduled debate on the Democrats side heading into the March second primary. As Laurie Johnson reports — the two leading candidates will be on the attack — but not against each other.

The strategy in this race seems to be clear: attack Governor Rick Perry.

Pierpont Communications Political Analyst Nancy Sims says every candidate in the race for governor, with the exception of Perry himself, is working this strategy.

“I’m sure they’ll address the Trans-Texas Corridor and toll roads as an idea. You’ll probably hear a lot of discussion about CHIP — the Children’s Health Insurance Program —  and probably a little more about human and social services and how they have greatly decreased while Perry has been governor.”

In addition to sniping Gov. Perry, former Houston Mayor Bill White and Houston Businessman Farouk Shami need to introduce themselves to voters across the state.

University of Houston Political Science Professor Brandon Rottinghaus says White will position himself as the candidate with experience, while Shami wants to be seen as the fresh voice in government.

“White has to establish in the minds of the voters that he is the heir-apparent — that he is the who needs to be the nominee. And, on the other hand, Shami talking more about his role as an outsider and as a bridge-builder and as somebody who has grown jobs.”

Both analysts say White clearly has the edge going into the primary, although there is room for Shami to win. Either way, Sims says this will be an exciting race.

“This is probably the most interesting governor’s race in Texas since 1994 when you had George Bush taking on Ann Richards. I mean it just hasn’t been as interesting since then.”

The debate between Shami and White will air live Monday night at 7pm here on KUHF 

Bill WhiteFarouk Shami


Laurie Johnson

Executive Producer for News

Laurie Johnson leads daily news coverage for HPM. She helps reporters craft and sharpen their stories on tight deadlines, with the aim of getting the most relevant and current information into local newscasts. Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. She is...

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