Out of touch Democrats attack Gov. Perry

Dan Balz, Washington Post:

In a surprise move, the Democratic Governors Association has decided to up the ante in Texas, with plans to launch an attack ad against Gov. Rick Perry (R ) that assails him as a career politician who has lost touch with the people of the Lone Star State.

The audacious action comes in a state that has been a Republican stronghold for more than a decade. But Democrats have concluded that, even in a year that tilts strongly toward Republicans, Perry is more vulnerable than he has appeared in his race against Democrat Bill White, the former mayor of Houston.

The DGA has already contributed $2 million to White's campaign. The new ad buy, which is scheduled to begin running in the Dallas area Tuesday, represents an independent expenditure on behalf of White. A Democratic strategist said the DGA would spend about $650,000 to $700,000 a week on its ad campaign.

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.


The ad attacks Perry on several fronts. Among them are ordering 11- and 12-year-old girls to be vaccinated against a virus that causes cervical cancer and proposing a mammoth Trans-Texas highway corridor that would have taken land from many private property owners.

Both proposals eventually were blocked, but Republicans and Democrats have continued to criticize Perry for his actions. Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R ) included both in her primary challenge to Perry last spring but fell far short in her bid to unseat him.

Neither of these matters are issues in the current race. I don't think they will matter that much especially to voters in Dallas. If anything Dallas would have been a beneficiary of the Trans-Texas corridor, it was people in the rural areas that opposed it the most because of the amount of land it would eat up. I personally think the opposition to the vaccinations was a mistake since it would have the effect of preventing cervical cancer as these girls mature. I don't think having the shot would have made the young girls of Texas more promiscuous, but that seems to have been the argument of opponents.

The fact of the matter is that Perry is not pushing either issue in this campaign so the ad appears to be beating a dead horse while ignoring the real issues in the race. It shows how out of touch Democrats are with the real issues in this year's campaign. The thing that is hurting White the most is he is a Democrat and an ad sponsored by Democrats will only remind people of that fact.


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