Hous­ton Dem in race for gover­nor

Mark White’s son says he’s life­long party mem­ber but ‘not a rad­i­cal’

The Dallas Morning News - - State -

AUSTIN — Another Demo­crat has en­tered the race to un­seat Gov. Greg Ab­bott in 2018.

An­drew White, the son of late Gov. Mark White, an­nounced Thurs­day he will run against the Repub­li­can in­cum­bent. At a rally in his home­town, Hous­ton, the busi­ness­man said he’s a “com­mon­sense Demo­crat.”

“I was born, I was raised and I re­main a proud Demo­crat,” White said. “But I’m not a rad­i­cal.”

Demo­crat Mark White, who was gover­nor from 1983 to 1987, died in Au­gust at age 77. His 45-year-old son en­ters pol­i­tics for the first time, the lat­est of eight can­di­dates try­ing to be­come the first Demo­crat to win a statewide of­fice since 1994. Ann Richards, the most re­cent Demo­cratic gover­nor, was elected in 1990.

White, an en­tre­pre­neur, founded the in­vest­ment firm Sweat Eq­uity Part­ners in 2010.

“I’m will­ing to leave my ca­reer and run, be­cause Texas is worth tak­ing a chance,” White said in a live Face­book video from the rally. “The fu­ture of Texas is im­por­tant . ... It will be a tough race. I know that.”

His an­nounce­ment fol­lows that of Dal­las County Sher­iff Lupe Valdez, who said she was run­ning at a news con­fer­ence in Austin on Wed­nes­day.

The Texas Tri­bune re­ported that more than 100 peo­ple at­tended White’s an­nounce­ment. The crowd in­cluded Rep. Gar­net Cole­man, D-hous­ton, who helped in­tro­duce White and told The Texas Tri­bune after­ward that he was sup­port­ing White’s can­di­dacy.

“My fel­low Democrats, I know you’re tired of los­ing,” White said at the rally. “I am, too. If win­ning in No­vem­ber is im­por­tant to you, then I’m your can­di­date. I wouldn’t be here to­day if I weren’t ready to serve.”

In his speech, White also promised to re­move a Con­fed­er­ate plaque hang­ing in the state Capi­tol, ad­dress health care and fix the state’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.

“How can we claim we’re pre­par­ing our kids for to­mor­row when we can barely pre­pare them for yes­ter­day?” he asked. “We face many chal­lenges, but none are as im­por­tant as ed­u­ca­tion.”

White could face a tough road in a pri­mary against more lib­eral can­di­dates. Ed Espinoza, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of lib­eral pol­icy and ad­vo­cacy group Progress Texas, said the or­ga­ni­za­tion sent ques­tions to White about LGBT and abor­tion is­sues, in­clud­ing ask­ing him if he would sign an anti-abor­tion bill.

“Midterm elec­tions are base elec­tions, and con­sol­i­dat­ing a pro­gres­sive base be­gins in the pri­mary,” Espinoza said in a pre­pared state­ment. “How does Mr. White, with self-pro­claimed con­ser­va­tive and anti-abor­tion stances that are against pro­gres­sive val­ues, ex­pect to mo­bi­lize and in­spire the thou­sands of peo­ple who marched and ad­vo­cated in Austin and Wash­ing­ton this year?”

ANAREW WHITE

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