Bell hits Strayhorn on school vouchers

Shannon -- AP:

Independent candidate for governor Carole Keeton Strayhorn now says she's against private school vouchers but in the past took $100,000 in campaign donations from a millionaire voucher advocate, Democrat Chris Bell said Tuesday.

Bell criticized Strayhorn for saying she opposes using taxpayer money to send children to private schools. Her comments last week were aimed at Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who favors a pilot voucher program.

"Texas needs to trust that its leaders will have the courage of their convictions," Bell said. "When she says that vouchers are off the table, well, for how long? And when will they be back?"

Bell is vying for the Democratic nomination for governor against Bob Gammage in the March 7 primary. But Strayhorn's entry as an independent in this year's election means candidates aren't just concentrating on the spring primary but are looking ahead to potential opposition on the November general election ballot.
Bell said he always has opposed private school vouchers. He said Strayhorn - who has collected a large amount of her recent campaign cash from traditional Democratic donors - is trying to erase her past.

Strayhorn's campaign said Tuesday it would have no comment on Bell's criticism.

From 2000 to 2003, she accepted contributions totaling $100,000 from conservative San Antonio businessman James Leininger, a voucher supporter. Late in her 1998 run for state comptroller, Leininger secured a $950,000 loan to Strayhorn's campaign, and in the 1999 legislative session she supported a voucher plan that failed, Bell said.

If you were Bell's campaign, then why not? You need name ID, and don't have the money to easily buy it. Attacking is one way to get your name out there. It's a fair attack, since Strayhorn has supported vouchers in the past, so it shouldn't hurt Bell the way negative campaigning can.

Also, Strayhorn has the potential to undermine Democrats as well. Folks won't give money to Democrats if Strayhorn is outpolling them.

Posted by Evan @ 01/24/06 11:48 PM


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