by BRAD ROLLINS
Editor and Publisher
Campaigning in San Marcos on Saturday, gubernatorial candidate Bill White scoffed at his Democratic Party primary opponent’s recent claim that White’s mention of his San Antonio birthplace in campaign commercials is racist.
Born a Palestinian near Jerusalem, hair product magnate Farouk Shami told a McAllen crowd this week, “I take that as a racist comment. … It doesn’t matter where we’re from. I’m a better Texan than he could ever be.”
Asked about the dustup, White, a former Houston mayor, said, “I never thought it was racist to tell people where I was born… To use a term like racist so casually is something questionable to me.”
Interviewed after a speech before more than 100 people at Cafe on the Square downtown, White also dismissed a recent Rasmussen poll that showed him trailing even former Wharton County GOP chair Debra Medina, a Tea Party movement star, in the general election.
He said he will emerge from the Democratic Party primary stronger than either Gov. Rick Perry or U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who have spent millions on commercials tearing each other down.
“Perry is beating me with people who know nothing about me. And I am beating Perry with people that know something about me,” White said.
White, who said he expects Perry to be the Republican nominee, had sharp barbs for the incumbent during his speech. Referencing the allegation that Perry asked Texas Tech University trustee Mark Griffin to resign after Griffin endorsed Hutchison, White said, “That seems to me like corruption.”
“It is a public official advancing a personal agenda through his public office. We are better than that in Texas,” White said.
White and Shami will face each other for the first time in Fort Worth on Monday in a statewide televised debate. Shami will speak to the Texas State College Democrats at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday followed by a 7 p.m. appearance at Cafe on the Square.
White was introduced by State Rep. Patrick M. Rose who said in an interview afterward that he endorses Pct. 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton for Hays County Judge against incumbent Elizabeth Sumter in the March 2 primary.
“I believe he has more ability to unite the court around a progressive agenda than the current county judge,” Rose said. Rose himself faces a primary challenge from former Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District president Andrew Backus, who is seen as closely aligned with Sumter.Email | Print