Ripple effect from a run for governor?

HOUSTON Talks of a possible run for governor could have a far reaching impact on other races in our area. Word Mayor White is thinking about running for governor has both Democrats and Republicans already betting on the trickle effect it may have.

Mayor White's decision to make a decision about running has the wheels spinning in the minds of political strategists and analysts. Not only will a jump to the governor's race change that line on the ballot, it could have far reaching effects on a host of other races.

"It should greatly help Harris County Democrats," said KTRK Political Analyst Dr. Richard Murray.

Dr. Murray says a White entry into the governor's race puts to rest the Democrats' fears that they would not have a big name at the top of the ballot.

"They're really happy they have Bill White now nudging over toward the governor's race," he said.

"We would expect a tremendous boost from his candidacy," said Gerry Birnberg with the Harris County Democratic Party.

Birnberg says White would be a huge draw that could put local Democrats over the top in what would otherwise be close races.

"We're excited about the prospects of someone who's got such firm roots in the local community, is so well known here, and is generally so well-regarding here because he's done such a fine job these last six years," said Birnberg.

But White's fence-sitting is not necessarily received well in all corners.

"Originally, he's running for the U.S. Senate last week," said Woodfill. "This week, he's running for governor. Next week, he may be running for dog catcher. Who knows?"

Woodfill accuses White of playing the odds instead of doing what's best for Texas -- a move he says will better benefit Republicans.

"Bill White has always run in a non-partisan race," said Woodfill. "And now, he's coming out and he's saying, 'I'm a Democrat and here are the principles I believe in,' which are liberal principles."

Then there is the money issue. What will White's Senate campaign donors think of a switch? White would find raising money easier at the state level given the tight restrictions placed on federal races. Regardless, White's ultimate move will be sure to make a splash.

Again, White says he has not made a decision yet, but will make an announcement regarding a run for governor on December 4. If White decides to run, he'll be facing Kinky Freidman and businessman Farouk Shami in the Democratic primary.

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