Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Texas Farm Bureau gives Rick Perry thumbs down on endorsement

Texas Farm Bureau declines to endorse in governors race

bum steer
"Bum Steer"

Wayne Slater
Dallas Morning News
Copyright 2010

The Texas Farm Bureau -- which has always endorsed Rick Perry in the past -- voted today not to endorse anybody in the governor's race.

The decision by the bureau's political committee is a victory of sorts for Democrat Bill White. Perry was state agriculture commissioner -- and the Farm Bureau's Friends of Agriculture fund endorsed him twice as the state's agriculture chief and in his last two races for governor. Since it began making endorsements in 1990, the bureau has always picked the Republican at the top of the ticket. But not this year.

Spokesman Gene Hall says the board voted today to stay neutral in the race. Otherwise, the bureau is pretty much endorsing Republicans down the ballot in statewide races. Hall says he'll leave it to the campaigns themselves to interpret the decision.

Both Perry and White appeared earlier this year at the Farm Bureau's convention. White directly addressed one of the bureau's top issues -- eminent domain -- in his address. Perry didn't.

In the Republican primary, the Texas Farm Bureau endorsed Kay Bailey Hutchison over Perry because of his land-consuming Trans-Texas Corridor project and his 2007 veto of an eminent domain bill favored by farmers but opposed by business.

Moreover, a Perry campaign spokesman dismissed the Farm Bureau as "an insurance company that supported the (federal) bailout." Avoiding the bureau's top issue of eminent domain at its summer convention, Perry delivered a patriotic speech underscoring anti-Washington and pro-states rights themes.

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