[NYTr] Texas Polls Show Surprising Support for Kinky

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Kerrville Daily Times (Texas) - Aug 12, 2006
http://dailytimes.com/story.lasso?ewcd=9175b5ddc902c1ee

Several polls find favor for Friedman

By Gerard MacCrossan
The Daily Times

He'd never say it, but running for governor as a Texas independent is a
long-shot for a politician. So for an independent musician/writer/entertainer
like Kinky Friedman, it's an even higher hurdle to jump.

But with less than three months until Election Day, newspapers and radio
stations are having a field day running polls on the Texas governors race.
Friedman and Republican State Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn
petitioned their way onto the ballot as independents. Incumbent Republican
Gov. Rick Perry has been the long-time front-runner, while Democratic
nominee Chris Bell is the only other challenger expected to bring in many
votes on Nov. 7

The race

Medina resident Friedman is the Hill Country's local candidate, but in
staunchly Republican Kerr County, does he even have a chance of winning on
his own home turf?

This has got to be Perry country, Friedman said Friday. If he can't win the
Republican Hill Country, he can't win.

The financial war chests amassed by Perry and Strayhorn are huge compared
to Kinky's,

But I think money doesnt vote, people do, he said. Everybody is saying the
same things. The voters really want fundamental change, not cosmetic
change.

The winds of change could blow through Texas politics this fall, like they
did in Connecticut this past week. Friedman referred to voter turnout that
led to incumbent Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the former vice
presidential nominee, being defeated by party challenger Ned Lamont in the
state primary.

If we translate those numbers to Texas, the incumbent here is going to
fall, too, like Lieberman did, Friedman said.

Polls conducted by the Austin and San Antonio business journals in March
and April give the Governor's mansion to Friedman, a self-proclaimed
compassionate redneck.

In Austin, 47 percent of the 1,227 readers polled selected Friedman to
Perry's 20 percent. Strayhorn garnered 25 percent support and Bell 6
percent.

The San Antonio Business Journal gave Kinky 59 percent to Perry's 20
percent. Strayhorn and Bell scored 12 and 6 percent, respectively.
We've been kicking Perry's ass all over the moon, said Friedman. The
conservative KRLD radio station in Dallas polled its listeners three weeks.
The results were 68 percent for Kinky, he said.

The runners

A high voter turnout that defeats voter apathy is the only way a challenger
can win over the incumbent, said Friedman, who doesn't shy away from
complimenting his opponents as decent people.

The problem is they've got 89 years in politics [among] the three of them,
he said. That's not what the founding fathers want America to be. We don't
need a politician as the government.

In light of the tightening of airport security this week, Friedman voiced a
special concern for Perry.

My mind is alert to terrorism, of course. In Texas, particularly, we need
to be alert to the situation, he said. Imagine what would happen if Rick
Perry has to get on an airplane without his hair gel.

Strayhorn's mistake is running as an independent, he said. And Bell faces
the same problems as the Texas Democratic party, Friedman said.

The Democrats will probably do well nationally, but in Texas, Democrats are
tired of slaving on the plantation too long without any results, he said.

The issues

Education funding, taxes and health care are issues on every candidate's
stump.

For Kinky, the answers are simple and come down to not thinking like a
politician.

What has six balls and screws Texans? The lottery, he said, criticizing the
current advertising campaign for the Texas Lottery that talks about the
financial benefits Texas public education gets from the lottery.

Friedman calls it lies, saying the lottery profits go into the state's
general fund and politicians' pockets. He said it should be reformed to
directly fund college education for successful students, similar to how the
Georgia Lottery operates.

The business tax reforms enacted this spring are turning traditional
Republican business owners away from Perry to supporting Friedman's
campaign, he said.

These politicians are not using common sense, Friedman said. Common sense
is not fueling the economies of five other states.

He said that referring to keeping casino gambling money in Texas by
legalizing the practice would create new revenue for Texas.

The voters

The Times Brazoria County sister paper "The Facts" polled readers in April.
The respondents gave Friedman 52 percent of their support to Perry's 22
percent. The "Victoria Advocate" ran a simple poll pitting Friedman against
Perry; the governor received only 15 percent support.

Political pundits say these polls are unscientific, Friedman said.
But something is going on here, he said. To deny that is to be in denial.
The politicians all feel the three of us (Friedman, Bell and Strayhorn) are
going to divide the vote, he said. But I don't know if they believe that any
more.

The national Rasmussen Reports July 24 poll gave Perry a lead among voters
with 40 percent of the vote. Strayhorn received 20 percent and Friedman 19
percent. While Perry's percentage has been static since February, Friedman
has gained 10 percent and Strayhorn dropped 11 percent. Bell scored 13
percent in both polls.

If Friedman wins, he will be repeat the feat of former Minnesota Gov. Jesse
Ventura. The former pro wrestler won his term in office thanks to the newly
registered voters, 85 percent of whom voted for Ventura, Friedman said.

Those Minnesota voters weren't experts on the issues, he said.

Their only issue was they didn't like what they had, he said.

With three months to go, Friedman said the big challenge is to fight the
great Goliath of (voter) apathy.

I feel happy and privileged to be a part of this, he said. If we can fight
apathy, we can win.

) 2006 Kerrville Daily Times. All rights reserved.

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