Houston Dem in race for governor
Mark White’s son says he’s lifelong party member but ‘not a radical’
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?”