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White Considers Dropping Senate Bid to Run for Governor

Houston Mayor Bill White (D) said Monday that he is considering dropping his 2010 Senate bid in the as-yet-unscheduled special election to succeed Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) in favor of running for governor instead. “Since Friday a week ago, Texans from all backgrounds have asked me to consider running for governor of Texas,— White said at a news conference Monday, according to Houston TV station KHOU. “I agree to consider running for that office and will make a decision by Friday, Dec. 4.—White’s announcement follows businessman Tom Schieffer’s (D) withdrawal from the gubernatorial race Monday afternoon. White has long prepared to run for the Senate seat that Hutchison originally planned to vacate this fall to concentrate on her bid against Gov. Rick Perry (R) in the March primary. But Hutchison is staying put in the Senate through the primary, and it could be a year until a special election is held.White’s Senate campaign had $4.2 million in cash on hand as October began, and aides said as recently as this month that White would not switch to the gubernatorial race and is “running to work for Texans in the U.S. Senate.— A White gubernatorial campaign would give Democrats the big-name candidate that they currently lack. A late October poll showed musician Kinky Friedman leading the Democratic field with 19 percent of the vote, ahead of Schieffer’s 10 percent but well behind the 55 percent who said they didn’t have a choice. Friedman was an independent candidate for governor in 2006, winning 12 percent of the vote.White’s departure from the Senate race would leave John Sharp, a former state comptroller, as the only Democrat running for Hutchison’s seat. Several Republicans are running.

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