HOUSTON --We have a new view of the governor's race as it appears one candidate's controversial comments about 9/11 may have cost her. You may remember two weeks ago when Texas gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina said there are still good questions about possible U.S. government involvement in the 9/11 attacks. A day later she said she couldn't tell what effect it would have on her campaign. According to a public policy polling survey, we know Medina's embrace of the 9/11 controversy has not been healthy for her campaign. "It's healthy if people are asking questions," said Medina at the time. Before her 9/11 comments, just nine percent of Texas Republicans had an unfavorable opinion of Medina. Tuesday's poll shows that number jumping to 30 percent. "I'm not going to let up. I'm going to pursue winning the nomination on March 2. That's the goal," said Medina. She made that comment two weeks ago, but now it's increasingly unlikely. However, the poll shows neither remaining candidate can win outright. When we asked Governor Rick Perry how a runoff changes the campaign, he replied, "I don't know. I am not planning on having one." He may want to start. To avoid a runoff, Perry has to get more than 50 percent of the primary vote. The public policy poll shows Perry with just 40 percent. U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has 31 percent, while Medina is at 20 percent. In a runoff, Perry beats Hutchison according to this poll 52 to 35 percent. The poll also shows that more voters want to see Hutchison stay in Washington, DC as a U.S. senator than governor or private citizen. On the Democrat side, former Houston mayor Bill White leads businessman Farouk Shami 59 to 12 percent. Shami is fading there. On Wednesday, we look towards the issues that are defining this race, starting with how the Republican candidates would close a massive budget deficit in Texas. Early voting for the March 2 primary ends this Friday, February 26. If you are set to head to the polls Tuesday, you'll want to be prepared. Get a look at sample ballots and find the polling locations near you.
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