San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

February 7th, 2010
Bill White scoffs at Shami’s racism claim

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.

Gubernatorial candidate Bill White talks with supporters before taking the stage on Saturday at Cafe on the Square in downtown San Marcos.

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.

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7 thoughts on “Bill White scoffs at Shami’s racism claim

  1. When I hear the former mayor of the state’s largest city saying something like, “It is a public official advancing a personal agenda through his public office. We are better than that in Texas” it makes me wonder how they can be so disingenous. How can we be better than that in Texas? That’s the Texas way! I dare you to name a governor or legislator of consequence who did not profit handsomely from their public office.

    Sometimes things sound good but just aren’t true.

  2. Samuel Rayburn.

    I don’t understand why people are so pessimistic – or why they expect politicians to behave differently than your average men/women. While I don’t want my representatives to be corrupt, I sure don’t want them to be self-righteous either. I think “human” is a good place to start.

  3. Don’t you think its kind of funny how all Barton’s talk of East Hays County vs. West Hays County has kind of disappeared now that Barton is running for Hays County Judge. (If I remember correctly, this publication played a huge role in advancing intracounty warfare).

    So it’s Rose/Barton vs. Sumter/Backus. I know who I stand with — those who believe the government belongs to the people and not just people with money. This is our county and I hope our citizens get out and vote to support candidates who support government by the people.

  4. That’s quite a cheap shot directed at Debra Medina. She gets my vote because she has what Perry, Hutchison and White don’t have, that is: I-N-T-E-G-R-I-T-Y.

    If it came down to Farouk vs. Perry, this lifelong Republican would vote for Farouk but he will never vote for Bill “I got my drunk driving daughter off in Houston” White. You own that, Mr. Mayor.

  5. Jon, Did not intend it as a cheap shot. I was making the point that, at least according to current polls, the Democratic Party nominee for governor faces a Republican-leaning electorate in November.

  6. Wim Dem – do all the Wim Dems agree with your point of view? Or is your moniker just that, a moniker, and you are not “officially” representing the view of the Democratic Club from Wimberley?

  7. Hopefully Debra Median will win the Primary in March. She is hands down the most genuine of the people running. Out with all Incumbents would be my wish.

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