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

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Perry, Cornyn emerge victorious in state elections, speak in Austin

 Perry, Cornyn emerge victorious in state elections, speak in Austin
Perry, Cornyn emerge victorious in state elections, speak in Austin

Perry, Cornyn emerge victorious in state elections, speak in Austin

AUSTIN – President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush received their biggest 25th anniversary gift around 10 p.m. Tuesday when the Texas Republican Party announced sweeping victories in the majority of statewide races.

Republican state and national candidates gathered with supporters at the Austin Convention Center Tuesday night to celebrate the party’s gains across the state.

As Republicans called the Texas gubernatorial election in favor of Rick Perry, across town Democratic rival Tony Sanchez promised to fight the results until the last vote was counted.

“This race is a long way from over. I’m going to give them hell and fight like hell until the last vote is counted,” he said. “Never in my life have I given up, and I’m not going to give up now.”

Sanchez’s remarks follow a bitter campaign characterized by heavy spending and vicious attacks ads and name-calling. Meanwhile, the Republicans waxed confident as they painted the future with their victory speeches.

“This victory is about the Texas dream that knows no geographic boundaries and is for everyone,” Perry said after receiving a phone call from President Bush informing him that CNN had called his race.

In his acceptance speech, Perry reiterated his campaign promises to create new and better paying jobs, lower home insurance and improve Texas schools.

“We must seek common ground to achieve the common good,” he said.

John Cornyn’s victory over Democratic opponent Ron Kirk for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Republican Phil Gramm provided the evening’s other big Republican victory.

“Texas made it clear tonight we need new management in the U.S. Senate,” he said. “I accept with great humility the honor of following Phil Gramm in the Senate.”

As Cornyn declared victory in Austin around 10 p.m., former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk waited with his supporters at his rally in Dallas for a more decisive margin.

“I’m planning on being here all night, I’ve brought my p.j.’s with me,” Kirk said.

In his acceptance speech, Cornyn acknowledged his opponent’s strong contribution to the race.

“We agree it is essential to take a bipartisan effort of this state to Washington,” he said.

In January, Cornyn will join Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in Washington where it appears the GOP will retake the majority in the Senate while holding on to control of the House of Representatives. As of press time Republicans were expected to win easily in 19 states, with three more leaning toward the GOP, resulting in a 51 Republican to 48 Democrat split.

On the state level, the Republicans won the first state house majority in 130 years.

“Republicans do not seek nor will they tolerate partisan gridlock,” said Susan Weddington, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas. “Republican House members are ready to continue the proud bipartisan tradition in the Texas Legislature and work for the best interests of the people of Texas.”

Democrats have held a majority in the state house since 1872. This is the largest Republican state house gain in a non-presidential year in the history of Texas..

“Republicans trust that the Democrat minority in the House will be ready to put aside partisan politics and join the new Republican Majority in working for the good of all Texans,” Weddington said.

At least one Democrat made an appearance mingling with the Republicans. Former Texas Attorney General Dan Morales, who lost the Democratic bid for governor to Sanchez, turned heads and gave interviews as he walked through the hall.

“The time for politicking and campaigning is over,” he said. “I think the vast majority of Texans don’t want to see this state run in a partisan fashion.”

Morales surprised the state when he announced his endorsement of Republican candidate Rick Perry in October. Many speculated that he might switch parties, but as of Monday evening he made no indication of changing his affiliation.

“I think my time as a political candidate is past,” he said. “I’m here tonight to support Governor Perry.”

In other statewide races, Republican Carole Keeton Rylander was elected to another term as the state’s comptroller while Greg Abbot defeated Democrat Kirk Watson to replace Cornyn as Texas attorney general. At press time, the lieutenant governor’s race between Republican David Dewhurst and Democrat John Sharp was undecided.

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