“If he doesn't want to debate, he should just say so instead of playing games like a typical career politician."
By R.G. Ratcliffe
San Antonio Express-News
AUSTIN — The first debate in the Texas governor's race in this year general election will involve a pair of Houstonians in Kerrville on Monday — minus Gov. Rick Perry.
Democratic nominee Bill White and Libertarian Kathie Glass, both lawyers, are scheduled to face off in a Kerrville Area League of Women Voters debate at 7 p.m. at the Cailloux Theatre there.
The debate can be called a statewide event, in that anyone who wants to go to the KVHC-TV web site can watch it.
Kerrville Area League President Donna Robinson said Perry was invited but turned it down. Robinson said Perry can still show up Monday if he wishes.
Perry spokesman Mark Miner said the governor will not debate White until White releases his personal income tax returns for the years when he was assistant U.S. secretary of energy and Texas Democratic Party chairman, a period covering the mid-to-late 1990s. White has released his returns for the years when he was Houston's mayor.
“We will discuss debates when Bill White comes cleans with the people of Texas and releases his tax returns for his years on public service,” Miner said.
White spokeswoman Katy Bacon said Perry is just playing games to avoid a debate.
“Next he'll be asking for Bill's tax returns when he was running concession stands as a teenager, or saying he'll only debate if Glenn Beck is the moderator,” Bacon said. “If he doesn't want to debate, he should just say so instead of playing games like a typical career politician. “
Glass favors states rights, nullification of federal laws by the states if they consider them to be unconstitutional, an elimination of the public school property tax and state payments for Medicaid. Glass said Perry talks about states rights and less government spending, but “he really doesn't believe in it.”
Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson said White's decision to debate Glass is a “mixed bag.”
It gives White the opportunity to promote a candidate who might draw votes from Perry in the general election and highlight the fact Perry will not debate.
But Jillson said it also “caters to the idea that they are a little frantic and are taking the eye off of the ball, which is Rick Perry.”
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