Speaking with reporters in Austin after the April 15, 2009 “tea party” tax protest, Governor Rick Perry, the longest serving chief executive in Texas history, raised the specter of secession and said, “Texas is a unique place.” We agree. None of the characteristically colorful details of Texas politics escapes Dr. Richard Murray, who came to the Lone Star State’s largest city in 1966 and quickly established himself as a keen observer and astute analyst of campaigns and elections, interest groups, political parties, and public opinion. Having served as a consultant to over 200 city and statewide campaigns and as Director of the University of Houston Center for Public Policy, Dr. Murray is uniquely qualified to answer some of our most pressing questions about the brawling politics in our sprawling state.
Who will prevail in the November 2009 Houston mayoral race, when voters will choose among rivals including the present City Controller who has won six citywide races as an openly gay candidate; a current Harris County Department of Education Trustee and well-known Latino businessman; a prominent African-American former City Attorney with support from major business interests; and a current City Council member who is well-financed, draws progressive support, and who was an early supporter of Barack Obama’s candidacy? What local issues are likely to be outcome determinative in this election? And what will Houston’s elections bode for the 2010 Gubernatorial race and, in particular, the highly anticipated Republican Primary between current Governor Rick Perry and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and its implications upon the opportunity for the election of a Democratic governor, the first since Ann Richards in 1991? Come hear Dr. Murray’s insightful analysis of our unique Texas brand of politics and listen for his predictions in our fascinating state and local races.
Richard Murray is the Bob Lanier Professor of Urban Public Policy and the director of surveying for the Center for Public Policy at the University of Houston, where an endowed scholarship in his name was established in April 2008.
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