Baseline Analysis of Texas Governor’s Race

Strayhorn’s Task Harder and Bell’s Chances Better than Assumed
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The unusual multi-candidate gubernatorial field in Texas has created an environment that may defy current conventional wisdom. Particularly, early observers may be overestimating the ability of Carole Strayhorn to garner a plurality of support in a potential four candidate field without the base of support that a party nomination provides. Conversely, although Chris Bell has raised relatively little money to date, he won the Democratic primary easily and has a voting record and political history virtually all Democrats, and some true independents, can embrace.

An analysis of the four-candidate field, based on projected voter turnout in 2006, shows that in order to compete and win, Strayhorn would have to run a campaign that simultaneously cuts deeply into the expected Republican vote that would otherwise go to Rick Perry AND cut significantly into the expected Democratic vote that would otherwise go to Bell. Gaining a little from both won’t work, and cutting deeply into one, but not the other, falls short as well.

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