Trailing the Campaigners With Bob Armstrong on the road in South Texas Bob Armstrong glances at the gauges glowing dimly in the cockpit of his tiny, four-seat Cessna 182 then peers out the window looking for some sign of runway beneath the dense fog blanketing Austin this Wednesday evening. With help from his regular pilot Ed Fogle, sitting in the co-pilot’s seat, and clearance from the central tower, he lines the plane up and just misses. He circles in the rapidly gathering darkness and tries again, and again misses. Fogle tries, and he misses. Fogle flies on to Temple, and a 12-hour campaign day ends two hours late and 60 miles off the mark. With Mark White and Buddy Temple hogging the headlines in this relatively lackluster campaign and would-be Armstrong supporters clucking sympathetically over their man’s presumed financial woes, it’s tempting to see some kind of symbolism lurking in Bob Armstrong’s abortive attempt to land in Austin. The candidate, however, sitting at a table in a dreary little room at the Temple airport, munching Cheetos and answering written questions submitted by Austin high-schoolers, is unflappable. His optimism seems sincere, and besides, the next day’s campaigning was to begin in Temple anyway. This day’s media swing had begun some 12 hours earlier in another dreary By Joe Holley little airport room in Victoria. Armstrong told four reporters that the previous ten days had been a great boost to the campaign because of endorsements from, among others, the Texas Women’s Political Caucus, the Mexican American Urban and Rural Coalition, the Sierra Club, and the Harris County Democrats groups representing over 350,000 voters. “All the work I did in January and February, which was very slow, is beginning to pay off,” he said. “The endorsements I’ve gotten will offset some of the money.” Armstrong’s press release for the day chided an illegal alien poll commissioned by Gov. Clements. “He hired his own pollster, paid him with state money,” Armstrong told the reporters, “and we’ve also heard the pollster paid five dollars apiece to people who answered the question.” “Would you like to discuss any more conflicts you have with Gov. Clements?” a reporter asked. “They’re legion,” Armstrong answered. He started with the interest-rate bill, saying he would have vetoed the 24% request and instructed lawmakers to come back with a bill calling for a 17 or 18% interest limit, moved on to TEC closings, oil spills in the Gulf, poverty in Texas. “Do you have a crime package?” a reporter asked. “The police force people I talk to, the county attorneys, the district attorneys I talk to, think all the rhetoric is meaningless without the funding and personnel they need. They have the laws. Eighty percent of the cases they deal with are drug-related, but wiretapping is just something you talk about at the Rotary Club. The way you catch kingpin drugdealers, which is what the governor is always talking about, is having good people who are patient and who put out money on the street to catch ’em.” “Your opponents right now are in the Democratic primary,” a reporter pointed out. “Do you feel like you’re going to win that race?” “Sure,” Armstrong answered. “Because nobody has the endorsements I have. The word is that the teachers went to Houston for Buddy Temple. When they left there, they were for Bob Armstrong. I worked that convention for two days, made nine speeches in an hour and a half. “Look at what I’ve done in the legislature, what I’ve done in the executive branch, and this is what people are doing. Mark’s record, as Texas Monthly said, is at best, mediocre. The crowds are building, people supporting me have been very enthusiastic.” TEXAS SERvER The Progressive Biweekly Vol. 74, No. 8 April 23, 1982 Editor and Publisher: Ronnie Dugger Co-Editor: Joe Holley Associate Editor: Lyman Jones Staff Writer: Ruperto Garcia Washington Correspondent: Bob Sherrill Research Director in Washington: Katharine C. Fain EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Frances Barton, Austin; Elroy Bode, El Paso; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Bob Eckhardt, Washington, D.C.; Sissy Farenthold, Houston; Ruperto Garcia, Austin; John Kenneth Galbraith, Cambridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, Ill.; Molly Ivins, New York City; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Oxford, Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Austin; James Presley, Texarkana, Tx.; Susan Reid, Austin; A.R. Tehachapi, Ca.; Alfred J. Watkins, Austin. LAYOUT: Kat Duff. CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Warren Burnett, Nina Butts, Jo Clifton, John Henry Faulk, Bill Helmer, Jack Hopper, Laurence Jolidon, Mary Lenz, Matt Lyon, Greg Moses, Janie Paleschic, Laura Richardson, M. P. Rosenberg, Bob Sindermann, Jr., Paul Sweeney, Lawrence Walsh. CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Alan Pogue, Grant Fehr, Bob Clare, Russell Lee, Scott Van Osdol, Ronald Cortes CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS: Berke Breathed, Jeff Danziger, Ben Sargent. _Mary Margaret Wade, Gail Woods Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. A journal of free voices We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them we do not necessarily imply that we agree with them because this is a journal of free voices. Business Manager: Frances Barton Office Manager: Joe Espinosa, Jr. Advertising, Special Projects: Cliff Olofson The Texas Observer postage paid at Austin, Texas. years, $56. One year rate for full-time students, $13. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from Microfilming Corporation of America, Box 10, Sanford, N.C. 27330. Copyright 1982 by Texas Observer Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. 2 APRIL 9, 1982 , POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701.
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