The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Perry, White to face off Tuesday

The race between Rick Perry and Bill White has heated to a boiling point.

Issues such as education, infrastructure, healthcare and the size of government have sent Texans to the polls for early voting in numbers that crushed records set in the 2006 midterm election, and a winner will finally be decided tomorrow.

And while White’s supporters have been touting him as a viable candidate against Perry, poll numbers seem to suggest that he may not stand much of a chance in tomorrow’s election.

The latest Rassmussen poll, out Oct. 23, gives Perry 51 percent and White 43 percent.

Other polls, like The Dallas Morning News, put Perry up as high as 12 points.

Cal Jillson, SMU political science professor and author of “Texas Politics: Governing the Lone Star State and Pursuing the American Dream,” says that he believes Perry is probably up by eight to 10 points, and that White has “no better than an outside chance” of winning the race.

Jillson says that the reason that Perry continues to have high approval ratings in Texas is because he refuses to raise taxes.

“Texans know that Rick Perry won’t raise their taxes, they like that. They are a little less sure about Bill White and I think that limits their attractiveness to them,” Jillson said.

Bill White has made many promises since the beginning of his campaign, including improved education, expanded infrastructure and better access to healthcare. The problem, says Jillson, is that people understand that these things cost money.

Perry, on the other hand, hasn’t promised much at all in his campaign ads. Jillson says that this is common in Texas political campaigns because Texas has always been a state that rejects big government.

Texas is still living under the constitution of 1876, which mandates a weak and diffuse state government.

Because of this, the position of government is “systematically weak,” said Jillson, who says that this has a lot of implications for the way the governorship works.

He says that the Texas governor must “appear to be influential, even though he is not.”

In most states, the governor’s power is concentrated in two areas: the ability to appoint high level government officials and the ability to initiate the budgetary process.

In Texas, the governor does neither. The vast majority of Texas’ government officials are elected, and the legislature develops and passes its own budget without the help of the governor.

And while the position of the governor may not be particularly dominant, it is still perceived to be.

Because of this the governor is able to wield his power through rhetoric.

“You have the opportunity to mold opinion,” Jillson said. “It’s mostly a rhetorical power, and an exercise of influences where you try to bring people to your point of view.”

While Texas has faired well under a weaker state government, Jillson says that this will eventually become

a problem for Texas.

Because of rising numbers of minorities who tend to be less educated, the inability of a Texas governor to truly reform education will become a problem.

“Eventually, Texas won’t have the educated workforce that is required for a vibrant economy, and we are not doing anything really to forestall that problem,” Jillson said.

“If we don’t do that then Texas will deteriorate and will be a less interesting and desirable place,” he said.

While the problem of an uneducated workforce may not be an immediate problem facing the state of Texas, the looming $25 billion budget deficit is.  

Whoever becomes governor will have to deal with this problem immediately upon taking office in January.

Perry and White have different ways of dealing with the problem. In 2003, Texas faced a $12 billion budget deficit.

Perry balanced the budget with two-thirds budget cuts and one-third additional revenue.

Jillson says that Perry will probably look towards a similar solution to Texas’ current crisis.

White, on the other hand, will probably want to cut less than Perry, and will thus look to raising more revenue through taxes to solve the problem.    

And while White will probably end up raising more taxes than Perry, Jillson says that voters shouldn’t be tricked by the popular Perry claim that White will launch a state income tax.

“White is not thinking about an income tax,” said Jillson.

Votes can be cast from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at polling locations throughout the state.

SMU students who are Texas residents must vote in the district they are registered to vote in.

Those who are registered in Dallas County may find their polling location at


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