Texas Gov. Rick Perry dismantled his two Republican gubernatorial rivals this past week, winning the GOP primary with an outright majority — garnering 52 percent to 30 percent for Kay Bailey Hutchison and 18 percent for Debra Medina.
But I cannot locate anyone who says they voted for him. Granted, I haven’t talked to every Republican in Amarillo. But I’ve talked to quite a few of them, many of whom are mainstream conservatives. One guy, a prominent Amarillo lawyer, said he never could vote for Sen. Hutchison “because she favors Roe v. Wade,” so he voted for Medina. Another friend, a strong supporter of Congressman Mac Thornberry and other leading Republicans, said he “held my nose and voted for Kay.” Others have said much the same thing: They just couldn’t vote for anyone with great enthusiasm. Medina, the Wharton County “tea party” activist who shot herself in both feet near the end of the campaign with that nutty talk about 9/11 possibly being an inside job, did well among the most ardent conservatives.
That was the vote Gov. Perry was targeting. The ballot totals suggest he did quite well, avoiding a runoff.
But where are they? The folks I’ve encountered in the days since the election aren’t fessing up to voting for the guy.
It’s reasonable to note that Perry doesn’t engender much warmth. He’s a tough dude, able to campaign as hard as anyone who’s come along in decades — as Hutchison learned.
Great politicians — like Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan and John Kennedy — often have their names become political adjectives. I haven’t heard anyone yet declare himself to be a Perry Republican.