POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE vi DUNCANVILLE Senator Chet Edwards didn’t score the knockout punch, but he so persistently jabbed at Comptroller Bob Bullock during the state AFL-CIO convention that several disinterested political consultants at the event declared him the winner on points. Edwards seemed to have been more of a presence than Attorney General Jim Mattox, who usually opens and closes the door on any political gathering of more than ten. While supporters of Bullock, Edwards’s opponent in the Democratic primary fight for the lieutenant governor nomination, handed out bumper stickers and stick-on lapel tags at the door, Edwards himself greeted most of the delegates as they entered and departed Austin’s Palmer Auditorium. Edwards, who is running behind Bullock in endorsements, money, and name recognition will nonetheless appeal to many voters as the sort of wise-choice candidate that Republicans are successfully running against Democrats across the country. He’s 37, an MBA from Harvard, telegenic, articulate, and smart. Bullock, who many claim had the nomination wrapped up when he announced with more than half the Senate standing behind him, doesn’t fare so well under the camera’s glare and avoids the sort of gladhanding that Edwards is using in an effort to catch up. //1 SOME ARE ASKING if the Duncanville Senator didn’t engage in a little punching below the belt by plastering the labor convention hall with handbills promising a $100 reward “To the first AFL-CIO member who can find an explanation of why Bob Bullock: “Did not help Labor on workers’ comp during the 140-day regular session of the Legislature “Did not attend Labor’s workers’ comp rally at the Capitol in May, 1989 “Did not even mention workers’ comp in his July 26, 1989 speech at the AFLCIO convention” The handbill concluded with an Edwards workers’ comp reform “not resting on the backs of injured workers.” It was one of several attack flyers circulated by Edwards. //I EDWARDS had to score his points where he could get them, however. At the labor convention he was told that he could not address the convened delegates because he is not a statewide elected official or a U.S. Congressman. An exception was made for Port Arthur Senator Carl Parker, however, who was permitted to address the convention. // STATE TREASURER Ann Rich ards might need to update the editorial blurbs on her mailbuts. An “About Ann Richards” page that was mailed to voters across the state in late July included supportive editorial comments from Texas Business Magazine and Third Coast, both periodicals that no longer exist. Quotes from the living, however, prevailed with supporting lines from two Cox-owned dailies and Sam Kinch’s Texas Weekly. V’ NO ONE has ever accused Attorney General Jim Mattox of being easy on his opponents in political campaigns. But even the more hardbitten members of the capitol press corps were surprised by Mattox’s claim that he eliminated his opposition from the race for the Democratic nomination for governor and his promise that his current opponent could expect the same treatment. That Mattox’s approach is individual and completely adversarial was evident in his speech at the AFL-CIO convention: “I’m not starting out new in this race. I’ve been working at it for four years,” Mattox said. “I got Bill Hobby out of the race. Then I got Henry Cisneros out of the race. Now I’ve got one or two more to get out of this race before I take the Democratic nomination. But it’s going to happen. ” Reaction to Mattox’s claim was prompt. Hobby aide Saralee Tiede told the press on the following day that Mattox’s statement was “totally absurd.” And in Corpus Christi, Ruben Bonilla, general counsel for the League of United Latin American Citizens, suggested to San Antonio ExpressNews reporter Bruce Davidson that “Cisneros supporters will look for reasons not to support Mattox.” San Antonio city Councilwoman Maria Berriozabal told the Express-News “I doubt it would get him [Mattox] any votes.” g/ HOBBY, meanwhile, is out on the fundraising circuit. Not for a race of his own but for San Antonio Senator Cyndi Taylor Krier. Krier, a Republican, last year defeated Democrat Nef Garcia and Hobby created a controversy by supporting incumbent Republican Krier over Democratic challenger Garcia. Krier’s fundraiser was scheduled to help her defer campaign debts from her race against Garcia. Garcia was supported by San Antonio Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez, who was said to be furious with Hobby’s backing Krier against a progressive Democratic candidate in a general election. frst “DON’T DO IT, Mark,” was the consensus of friends of former Governor Mark White when White asked if he should enter the democratic race for Governor. For months, political insiders in Austin have been talking of a White comeback, with White advising Democratic funders not to commit to either Jim Mattox or Ann Richards. Now, according to the Houston Post, White has met with advisers and has moved closer to making a decision. But a poll of former high-level White backers by Post Austin Bureau Chief Ken Herman finds little support for another White race. Most who Herman talked to are now urging White to stay out of the race. Raising money, at this date, will prove difficult since Mattox and Richards have been working traditional Democratic givers for more than a year already. The Post story, however, suggests that White remains in touch with the kind of people who can help him raise big money. Using the sort of journalistic stakeout that knocked Gary Hart out of the Democratic primary two years ago, Post reporters determined that when White called his advisers together to discuss his political future, they arrived at his Houston home driving three Mercedeses, two BMW’s, and a Jaguar. As the Ag Commissioner often says: “Honk if that’s you.” //1 WHITE might have been buoyed by a press release issued by a House faction of conservative Democrats unhappy that the Democratic gubernatorial race was dominated by progressives Mattox and Richards. But these guys don’t exactly get the prize for political vision. One candidate that some of them were advancing was Beaumont Rep. Mark Stiles not exactly the best and the brightest of the House. Nor is Stiles exactly a household name. // IT SEEMS that they are only a phone call away from their reporters, but on a day that Houston Post editorial writers were going after Attorney General Mattox for an amicus brief his office filed in a prison suit, their local and state page included a story about the Governor’s having signed off on the brief. So while the Post editors, quoting Republican Harris County District Attorney Johnny Holmes, took Mattox to task for comments about Houston’s poor use of existing jail beds, they also carried a story revealing that Republican Governor Bill Clements had no reservations about the same amicus brief when it was filed. Mattox, a Clements staffer quoted in the news story said, was doing exactly what an attorney general had to do to defend the state. // REPUBLICAN gubernatorial primary candidate Jack Rains wasted no time in jumping into the fight. The Rains for Governor committee cranked out three quick THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11
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