As the 2006 governor’s race is right around the corner, professors at Sam Houston State University are casting their vote on who will indeed walk away with the coveted title of Governor of Texas.
Michael Oder, a mass communications major, and Jenna Zibton, a radio and television major, interviewed Dr. Robert Biles and Dr. John W. Holcombe, SHSU Political Science Professors, pertaining to the 2006 gubernatorial race.
As recent polls have indicated, candidate Rick Perry (R) is in the lead with Chris Bell (D) coming in second. The remaining two independents, Carole Keeton Strayhorn, Richard “Kinky” Freidman, as well as write-in candidate, James “Patriot” Dillon.
“This really is not as close of a race as people think,” said Biles. “Rick Perry has been consistently ahead.”
When it comes to deciding on whom to vote for, several thousand votes could really make a large difference.
“We’ve had a closer race when Ann Richards was running in 1990,” Holcombe said. “The interesting thing in this race is the two independents won by 100,000 votes. That may seem like a lot, but in this large of a state 100,000 is not that large of a difference.”
With Sam Houston being the last Independent candidate to be voted in for Governor of Texas in 1859, it almost makes a person wonder if Carole Keeton Strayhorn and Kinky Freidman have a chance.
“Kinky is an interesting candidate,” Holcombe said. “He appeals mostly to those who want entertainment purposes.”
Biles said that to be a strong independent, a candidate must have something strong to stand behind them.
“As an independent, you must have something to work in your favor (If you are not we’ll known),” Biles said. “For example, Schwarzenegger (R) had his name to stand on, but he also ran his campaign in an intelligent way.”
Both Biles and Holcombe says when it come to a candidate campaigning, they must know all the facts.
“Both Independent candidates were weaker when it came to campaigning this year,” Holcombe said. “Someone asked Chris Bell the year of the Alamo and luckily he knew it.”
While not all questions during that particular debate dealt with Texas, Keeton Strayhorn proved that she is strictly limited to knowledge within the borders of the Lone Star State.
“Strayhorn was given a quite a few hard questions,” Holcombe said. “One question was, ‘Who is the governor of Mexico?’ and she never came out and directly said ‘I do not know’ but she went around the question like she didn’t know the answer.”
As Keeton Strayhorn is the only female on the ballot this year, many wonder if being a woman will hold her back in any way.
“Being a woman in politics now is not as big as it used to be,” Biles said. “It is less of an issue today that it has been in the past.”
With most voters voting for the candidate who follows in line with their own personal beliefs, Holcombe reminded voters of the main points of this upcoming election.
“Public education is the biggest part in this race,” Holcombe said. “We are talking about children and lots of them. Perry is working very hard to get public schools the merits they deserve.”
While Holcombe and Biles say Perry is the likely candidate to win, they feel that Bell will probably come in second, Strayhorn in third and Kinky in fourth.
“Kinky’s votes have been steadily declining,” said Holcombe. “Ten percent said they were going to vote for him at first, but when several of his comments about Katrina evacuees still residing in Texas came out, quite a few people lost his trust.”
For more information on the 2006 Governor Election, log onto http://www.votetexas.com.