Perry campaign playing offense

KVUE (ABC Austin):

There were new questions Tuesday in the race for governor. Is Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn using taxpayer dollars in her run against incumbent Governor Rick Perry?

Campaign watchdog groups are concerned about a series of newsletters, mailed from the comptroller's state office, at taxpayer expense, that include letters from Strayhorn that are critical of Governor Perry.

Strayhorn launched her gubernatorial campaign in June. Since then, the outspoken critic of Governor Perry has gone virtually silent.

But now some newsletters sent by her state office are raising some eyebrows: the "Texas Innovator" and "Fiscal Notes" are mailed free to subscribers every two months. Since September, each has contained a commentary from Strayhorn that's critical of Governor Perry.

In one, she urges him to use a special session to send $200 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. In another, she criticizes Perry for not calling a special session, then proposes sending a billion dollars in tax relief to property owners.

Tom Smith runs "Public Citizen," a political watchdog group.

"I think it strays over the line and into a campaign piece," he said. "If you're an elected official you have to be very careful not to use state funds and the state office to promote your candidacy, and that's what it looks like is going on here.

Question: do you think the Perry campaign talked to KVUE about this? If not, do you think they fed the information to Tom Smith's Public Citizen who went to KVUE?

In case it's not clear, my guess is that the answer to one of those two questions is yes.

Combine this with the Ben Barnes web commercial, and it's clear that the Perry campaign is staying on the offensive. Comptroller Strayhorn doesn't have a firm public perception in Texas. With the campaign getting under way, Perry is trying to define Strayhorn before she can define herself. While Perry leads now in the polls, a decent amount of his support is soft. One way to firm up your support is to by making yourself look attractive in comparison to the other guy...or in this case, girl.

OK, back to studying.

Posted by Evan @ 12/14/05 01:59 AM


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Heh, the Perry campaign seems to have engaged.

I think the opponents are going to need more than boxing gloves and bobbleheads if they want to play at this level. :)

Posted by kevin whited @ 12/14/05 03:04 PM

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