How stupid is this? Very.
Texas hasn’t had a Democrat in the Governor’s Mansion since Dubya put the silver boot up Ann Richards’ ass. Perry enjoys approval ratings that have never slipped below 50% and polling shows him with a consistent six to eight point lead in statewide surveys of likely voters.
The state of Texas has such a business-friendly climate that it has hardly felt the impacts of the recession at all, and a big part of that is the tort reform Perry signed into law five years ago. Texas is good for business and bad for trial lawyers.
But that isn’t stopping the Democratic Governors Association, which announced plans for an ad buy of up to $700,000 in the Dallas – Ft. Worth area.
Perry’s opponent, former Houston Mayor Bill White, can’t even establish a solid majority of support in the metro area he once led. Houston area businesses (some of whom are my clients) were so glad to see him go that they’ve embraced the city’s first openly gay Mayor as a breath of fresh air.
The latest poll in Texas, conducted by Blum & Weprin Associates for a consortium of Texas newspapers, gave Perry a seven-percentage-point lead, 46 percent to 39 percent. The poll was published on Sunday. Perry's lead was consistent with other surveys taken in September.
The public poll showed White and Perry running about even in the Houston area, where White is well known. But Perry held a solid lead in the Dallas area. The DGA hopes its ad campaign will cut into that margin there, which could be the key to White's hopes of winning.
Perry became governor in December 2000 after then-governor George W. Bush resigned to become president. He has been reelected twice to four-year terms and is now the longest-serving governor in the state's history.
In a year in which incumbents of both parties have found themselves on the defensive, Democrats hope to turn Perry's long tenure against him. The ad concludes by saying, "Twenty-five years as a politician has changed Rick Perry alright - for the worse."
If this is the story line, then the DGA has fallen for the media meme that the 2010 election is “anti-incumbent.” It is not. The 2010 election cycle represents a center-right backlash against the statist establishment, and despite claims to the contrary during the primary, Rick Perry’s conservative credentials are solid gold. Democrats have about as much of a chance of picking him off as would a coyote on the jogging trail.
But by all means, DGA. Spend that money.