White, Shami debate for Democratic nomination

February 8, 2010 9:25:30 PM PST
On Monday night, it was the Democrats' turn. Farouk Shami versus Bill White - two of the men who want to be your next governor faced off in a debate in north Texas. Texas last elected a democratic governor, Ann Richards, 20 years ago.

It was largely what you would expect of Bill White - certainly knowledgeable about polices and problems facing Texans. For Farouk Shami, a relative unknown who has spent nearly $10 million of his own money already on this campaign, he showed that he has an interesting campaign but may not have a grasp of all the details necessary to be governor.

Bill White had an opponent Monday night, but it wasn't the man standing next to him.

"Governor Perry has brought the partisan politics of Washington to the state house," said White.

He thanked Shami for being respectful, but used this debate to contrast his own record with incumbent Governor Rick Perry's record.

"We need to have Texas workers have the skills they need to compete for the good jobs for the future in the world economy and we're not doing that under Governor Perry," said White.

He said no to a gas tax hike, no to school vouchers, no to voter id. If White Monday night painted his answers with a fine detail brush, Shami's claims were made with a paint roller.

"I am guaranteeing 100,000 jobs in the first two years or I will give the state $10 million," said Shami.

He even said at one point, every Texan would have a job, but offered little more than the power of persuasion as a plan to make it happen.

"The Governor is the CEO, it means he leads the state," Shami said.

Shami swears he is pro-choice, but tonight said abortion should only be legal through the first 60 to 90 days, a considerable difference from current law.

When asked about a federal program to verify immigration status, Shami responded with this.

"Without Mexicans, it would be without a day without sunshine," he said.

And Shami said the sun and wind are the only cure needed for skyrocketing electric rates.

"My aim for Texas is that within 10 years you would not have an electric bill," said Shami.

Looking past the March 2 primary, White was asked how he could beat a Republican, something that hasn't been done in Texas since 1989.

"I don't think the New Orleans Saints had ever won a Super Bowl since they were an expansion team and no one would've predicted that they would win at the beginning of the season," said White.

In recent polls, White trails all Republicans currently in the race including Debra Medina, although that race has certainly got a lot more attention statewide.

This was the first Democratic debate for the primary and it is also likely the last.