In March, the Dallas Morning News wrote about how Rick Perry was running a new kind of campaign.
Rick Perry’s campaign has a radical approach that eschews traditional voter turnout efforts in favor of extensive use of social media networks to win Tuesday’s GOP primary.
Haven’t seen a Perry yard sign? There aren’t any, and Perry has no local office to house them. Dreading yet another phone call from a political candidate? Don’t worry; Perry has no phone banks. And you probably won’t see supporters with T-shirts knocking at the door.
But you may get a Facebook message from a friend in your social circle. You’re more likely to find Perry campaign appeals on Twitter, even craigslist, than to see his mug on a highway billboard.
As of this minute, 60,848 people like the Bill White for Texas Facebook page. In comparison, the Govenror Rick Perry Facebook page has just 36,341 people who like it. All that, and you can get a bumper sticker and a yard sign from Team Bill, too. Well, it is a different kind of campaign and all.
Everybody understands the dynamics of this race. White will keep reaching out to independents and Republicans because he needs them to win, while Perry will continue to pander to the wingnuts because he thinks that’s all he needs; besides, they’re the only people he knows how to talk to. Perry can be all about flash and sizzle, while White will keep on doing the hard work to win people over.
A smattering of Republicans across the state is with White, including some well-known friends of vanquished Perry rival Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Dallas businesswoman Lucy Billingsley, a statewide leader in Hutchison’s campaign for governor, calls White a “strong fiscal conservative.”
“He’s smart, and the job he did as Houston mayor was fantastic,” she said.
Mark Smith, the former chairman of Hutchison’s youth coalition in Dallas, said he plans to vote for every Republican on the November ballot, except for Perry.
Smith says he likes White’s emphasis on improving education. He has criticized the governor about the state’s dropout rate and recent curriculum changes approved by the State Board of Education.
“White has Texas in his heart,” Smith said. “He puts people before politics.”
Wouldn’t that be nice to have in Austin for a change? White got a more high profile endorsement on Friday.
The longtime Republican mayor of Grand Prairie, Charles England, this afternoon endorsed Democrat Bill White for governor.
“We need to change Austin. For too long, the state has been divided into red teams and blue teams,” England said.
He appeared with White, the former mayor of Houston, at a campaign event in Grand Prairie.
“He’s a moderate politician, and that’s what this state needs,” England said.
Slow and steady, that’s what it takes. I found Perry’s reaction to this endorsement to be curious.
Perry spokesman Mark Miner dismissed the endorsement, saying it would not “hide the fact that Bill White is a liberal trial lawyer.” Miner also said Perry would unveil endorsements in the coming months that reflect “wide support” throughout Texas.
“We’re confident that we’ll have support from many people who support the governor’s policies,” Miner said.
Is it just me, or does this sound like the sort of thing that an underdog challenger would say? In the primary, Perry was making fun of KBH for her relative paucity of endorsements, and now he’s saying “just you wait and see”? Bravado and swagger is what I expect from Rick Perry, not pluck and spunkiness. I’m probably making something out of nothing here, but this statement struck a dissonant chord.