Bill White debates tomorrow but Perry is still MIA
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White was in San Antonio today, stopping by the Fourth of July celebration at Woodlawn Lake. White had hoped to speak but the Parks Foundation apparently was unable to accommodate the request. Regardless, White spent time meeting with supporters and enjoying the family atmosphere at the park. White has been crossing the state, taking every opportunity he can to meet voters and get his message out before the November election. White is in a tie with Governor Rick Perry at 43% a piece according to a recent poll by Public Policy Polling. With the race so tight you would expect White and Perry to be squaring off mano a mano. But apparently Perry continues to be a no show.
Tomorrow night Bill White will appear in a debate as a part of his campaign for the Texas governor’s office. The debate, scheduled for 7 p.m., is being hosted by the Kerrville Area League of Women Voters at the Cailloux Theater. It will be televised on KVHC and should be viewable over the Internet. White will be there along with Libertarian candidate Kathie Glass. But, as reported by the San Antonio Express-News, Governor Rick Perry will be missing from the platform in the debate. With this race so tight at this point why isn’t Perry joining in the debate?
Perry has stated he will not debate White until White releases his financial information for all his years of public service. At one point White hadn’t released information but recently that information has been released during his tenure as mayor of Houston. Perry still refuses to debate until returns during White’s term as assistant U.S. secretary of energy and chairman of the Democratic Party, according to spokesman Mark Miner. White’s spokesperson Katy Bacon responded saying “Next he’ll be asking for Bill’s tax returns when he was running concession stands as a teenager.”
White’s campaign has countered with the fact that White has released more financial information on his dealings than Rick Perry has during his term as governor. In a document posted on the White campaign site White compares his information to Perry’s, noting the blind trust Perry established while governor. The document also notes missing information from Perry’s filings for 2004 and 2009.
Perry appears to be stalling and doesn’t seem to want to debate White on issues, preferring to just counter with scripted releases and videos. As the Dallas Morning News noted Perry seems to request more and more information to avoid debating. “At this rate, perhaps White should dig out his third-grade report card while he’s at it,” said Colleen McCain Nelson, Editorial Writer for the DMN.
This seems to be a trend with Perry who refused to debate Debra Medina during the Republican primary race, even after Hutchison welcomed Medina in the debate regardless of her poll standing. Perry seemed to not want ultra-conservative Medina on the platform showing up Perry in front of conservative voters in Texas. Eventually Medina was allowed to debate and seemed to have held her own during the debate.
Perry also refused to talk to editorial boards to seek endorsement during the primary. Once again Perry spokesman Mark Miner used a weak excuse for ditching the boards. “In the final weeks of the campaign, a better use of the governor’s time is to continue traveling the state talking to Texans about the issues that are important to them,” said Miner. Personally I think Perry missed a great opportunity to get his message with the boards. The only reason I can think that Perry skipped is to avoid scrutiny on his record.
Perry has continued to only appear in scripted appearances and events where it’s difficult to question the governor. In the two incidents where Perry did confront reporters he either advocated secession or said the BP oil spill was an ‘act of God.”
Hopefully Perry will change his position and agree to a debate with White. It’s important to Texas voters to understand where the candidates stand, especially compared to each other. It’s important to hear these in the candidate’s own words. However, based on Perry’s current approach we’ll only hear this through scripts and releases. It makes me wonder if Perry is really up to the job of serving as governor.