Page 18


Wharton, $136,700; Martin Frost, DDallas, $131,625; and Mickey Leland, D-Houston, $122,739. Since 1977, Jim Wright has received $1,284,622 in PAC money, more than any other Texas representative. V How things change. Gov . Mark White was considered a major player for the Democrats’ 1988 presidential round, assuming, of course, that he won re-election. On Oct. 26, Eddie Bernice Johnson, the Democratic nominee for the 23rd senatorial district, introducing White at the Cathedral of Faith in Dallas, said: “I’d like to say he’s running for president of this country. But that’s the next step!” V Senator Phil Gramm of Texas was slammed uncommonly hard in a recent issue of the Houston Business Journal, which wrote about him: “Phil Gramm, for all intents and purposes, has become the third senator from Massachusetts. He certainly doesn’t act like he’s from Texas anymore.” Accounting for this attack on Gramm from such an unusual source, reporter David Maraniss wrote in the Washington Post: “Some have taken [Gramm] to task for opposing an oil import fee, export controls on oilfield equipment and aid to troubled farmers. Others have complained that he has not moved quickly enough on federal efforts to place a radioactive dump in the Panhandle, shift some National Aeronautics and Space Administration programs from the Johnson Space Center in Houston and reduce construction at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.” V The 99th Congress reduced funding for the nuclear waste storage study program from the Reagan administration’s request of $769 million to $499 million. However, the latter figure was the same level as that for the year before. Congress also prohibited exploratory drilling at the proposed dump site in Deaf Smith County, Texas, one of the three sites on which the feds have settled as the finalists for the dump site. Before adjournment for the year, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas applauded “the dramatically reduced funding level.” V Bentsen announced in October that amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act, signed into law in June, could disqualify the Deaf Smith County site for a high-level nuclear dump. The amendments include a provision requiring federal agencies to comply with state programs for preventing contamination of water wells. A Texas program could bar the Department of Energy from contaminating water wells in Deaf Smith County, located over the huge Ogallala aquifer, but federal agencies can claim exemption from these state programs if it is in “the paramount interest of the United States.” County north of San Antonio. Being from Laredo and being a woman candidate hurt Zaffirini in the northern counties, according to Judy Wilkerson, co-publisher of the Pleasanton Express. The campaign also had ethnic undertones, Wilkerson said, because Zaffirini comes from a Lebanese-Mexican-American family. Zaffirini can be expected to bring a more liberal presence into the senate than her predecessor, retiring Sen. John Traeger, the conservative Democrat from Seguin. V Other additions to the Senate are Democrats Frank Tejeda, the former San Antonio House member who will take Glenn Kothmann’s seat; Ken Armbrister, the former representative from Victoria who replaces John Sharp \(now on the Railroad Commisformer House member from Dallas who replaces Oscar Mauzy \(now a member of the Texas Supreme senate climbs from one to three, as Zaffirini and Johnson join Cyndi Krier, Republican of San Antonio. Democrats hold 25 of the 31 senate seats. V The balance in the Texas House shifted only slightly, with the Republicans gaining one seat for a total of 56 in the 150-member body. Only two incumbents were defeated: Buck Buchanan, a conservative Democrat from Dumas, lost to Republican Dick Waterfield, and Gene Haney, a Houston Republican, lost to the labor Democrat Weldon Betts. Other Notes V Democrats have noted with consternation that Mark White lost some counties in East Texas that have always gone Democratic. An example is Lamar County, which includes the city of Paris. Though the county has gone for Ronald Reagan in the past, Mark White carried it in 1982. This year he lost it to Bill Clements, 5,049 to 4,712. “I don’t think there’s any big change going on,” said Pat Murphy, the Democratic County chairman. “We have a lot of independents up here, and Mark White failed to keep the confidence of the independents.” Murphy said Republicans didn’t come close in any other races besides the governor’s, and that the defeat of Republican Edd Hargett both for Congressional and state senate seats proves the area is still solidly Democratic. Out of 22,000 registered voters, he estimates only 2,000 are “hard-core Republicans.” Still, Murphy granted that many East Texas Democrats wouldn’t vote much differently than Republicans on the issues. “It’s just a matter of calling yourself one [a Republican],” he said, adding that most people he knows don’t think they make enough money to call themselves Republicans. V For the benefit of Governor-elect Bill Clements, Rep. Steve Carriker, the progressive Democrat from Roby, is considering filing a bill in advance of January’s legislative session that would repeal the additional taxes passed this summer in the special session. Clements complained loudly about Mark White’s support for the tax increases, and in the televised debate October 6 said no new taxes should have been imposed during this “bi-ennum,” as he puts it. And he added: “I am optimistic we won’t have to in the next biennum.” Of course, Comptroller Bob Bullock is forecasting a $5 billion budget deficit over the next two years, but Carriker is only trying to come to the aid of the new governor. “It’s unfair for the man to work under the burden of a plan he didn’t agree with,” he says. “Let’s wipe the slate clean. ” v Billie Carr, leader of the liberal Harris County Democrats organization, said she was distressed by the tenor of this year’s governor’s race. “If Bill Clements wanted to do negative campaigning that’s one thing, but for the sitting governor . . . I think people think he should be above that,” she said. Carr said campaigns have always been “negative” in the sense of pointing out blots in the record of opponents. But for candidates to attack each other on such “issues” as who let more criminals out onto the street, she said, is a pollution of the political environment. “It’s that appeal to the lowest element in all of us that I don’t like,” she said. “People say ‘a pox on both their houses’ and just don’t vote.” Carr said she had been thinking of forming a committee to study the issues raised by this season’s negative campaigns. D.D. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 17