DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Leading up to the Texas primary, we’ve been profiling the major candidates in some of the key races.
While our CBS 11-Dixie Strategies Texas poll found 54 percent of Democrats undecided in the primary race for Governor, the two leading contenders, former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Andrew White received 12 percent and 17 percent support respectively.
During an interview White summed up his campaign: “I’m a common sense Democrat and I’m running to bring sanity and reason back to state Government.”
White wants to become the second person in his family to become Texas Governor. His father Mark, also a Democrat, served from 1983 to 1987.
To win the primary, White loaned his campaign over $1 million and raised about $450,000 from December through the end of February.
He made light of the loan. “First of all, don’t tell my wife, ok? No, we both did this because we both believe what we’re trying to accomplish. We both believe the state is headed in the wrong direction, we’re being led by extremists who are focused on the fringe members of their party.”
When asked how he can say Texas is moving in the wrong direction when its economy is booming White said, “We’re all fingers-crossed about Amazon’s headquarters, right? If the bathroom bill had happened, if we had passed a discriminating bathroom bill like they did in North Carolina, we wouldn’t even be talking about that Amazon is relocating their headquarters to Texas.”
White has come under scrutiny from some Democrats because he personally opposes abortion and attends a church that opposes same-sex marriage.
He insists he’s properly aligned with Democratic voters. “I’m squarely on the Democratic side because I believe in a strict separation from church and state. And ultimately, that’s where the Democratic party comes out.”
When asked what he says to people who question his church, White said, “Well, I’m not running for the pastor of Texas. I’m running to be the Governor of Texas.”
While Republican Governor Greg Abbott has proposed capping property tax revenue growth to stop rising property taxes, White rejects the idea. “The plan is like putting a Band-Aid on a heart attack. It’s not going to work. We have to fix the underlying problem first, which is education and healthcare in Texas.”
To fund education, White says, “We have to stop spending money on border security.”
He says he would use the $800 million Texas will spend on border security this and next year on the classroom instead.
White also wants the legislature to give voters a chance to pass a law that would close a property tax loophole that allows commercial property owners to file suit against their appraisals, which he estimates costs Texas around $5 billion a year. “That’s a lot of money to fix education.”
He also supports the state expanding Medicaid, a program that the state Legislative Budget Board estimated five years ago would cost Texas nearly $900 million during this and next year.
The feds would give Texas more than $10 billion. “That’s why we pay twice in Texas for healthcare. Once, we pay our taxes to the federal government, we don’t get the benefit of expanding Medicaid because of Governor Abbott and the second time because the counties get stuck paying with the bill.”
While White mainly disagrees with Abbott, he does disagree with Valdez when it comes to recreational use of marijuana.
Valdez would put it up for a vote, but not White. “I’m not in favor of recreational use of marijuana. I do think we should de-criminalize marijuana so that there is no jail time and there’s a minor fee just like a speeding ticket.”
In all, there are nine Democrats running for Governor.
Some analysts predict there will be a run-off election in this race between White and Valdez because neither will earn 50%+1 of the votes.
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