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2002 Texas 2010
Texas gubernatorial election, 2006
November 7, 2006
Rick Perry in March 2010.jpg CbellTX.jpg
Nominee Rick Perry Chris Bell
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,716,803 1,310,353
Percentage 39.03% 29.79%
Carole Keeton Strayhorn.jpg Kinky friedman 2006.jpg
Nominee Carole Keeton Strayhorn Kinky Friedman
Party Independent Independent
Popular vote 797,577 546,869
Percentage 18.13% 12.43%
County Results

Previous Governor
Rick Perry

Rick Perry

The 2006 Texas gubernatorial election was held on November 7, 2006 to select the next governor of the state of Texas, who is serving a four year term that began on January 16, 2007. The Republican and Democratic Parties chose their candidates by primaries and convention. Primaries were held on March 7, 2006[citation needed], with the winner of each requiring a majority vote. The Libertarian Party chose their candidate by caucuses held at various locations around the state and convention in Houston, Texas. By law, all parties in Texas must hold their political conventions in the month of June, then deliver to the Secretary of State a certified list of their candidates[citation needed]. The Democratic, Libertarian, and Green Parties held their convention on the weekend of June 9 through June 11, 2006[citation needed], while the GOP met a week earlier on the weekend of June 2 through June 4[citation needed].



It is difficult for an independent gubernatorial candidate to gain ballot access in the state of Texas. The election law, summarized briefly, requires the following:

  • The candidate must obtain signatures from registered voters, in an amount equalling at least one percent of the total votes cast in the prior gubernatorial election. For the 2006 ballot, this would require 45,540 signatures. (This is also the number of signatures required for a third party to gain ballot access, which only the Libertarian Party has done.)
  • The signatures must come from registered voters who did not vote in either the Democratic or Republican primaries or in any runoff elections for Governor.
  • The signatures must come from registered voters who have not signed a petition for any other independent candidate. In other words, a Strayhorn supporter cannot also sign Friedman's petition, nor vice versa. If a supporter signed more than one petition, only the first signature counts.
  • The signatures must be obtained within 60 days following the primary election; the window is shortened to 30 days if a runoff election for either party's gubernatorial candidate is required. In 2006, neither party had a runoff election for Governor; therefore, the candidates had the full 60 days – until May 11, 2006.

In the event a candidate does not qualify for independent status, they may still run as a write-in candidate. The candidate must pay a $3,750 filing fee and submit 5,000 qualified signatures. However, the filing cannot take place any earlier than July 30, nor later than 5:00 PM on August 29.

Republican primary







  • James Werner - Sales Consultant.



Incumbent Rick Perry became governor in late 2000 when then-Governor George W. Bush resigned following his election as President of the United States. He had been elected lieutenant governor in 1998. Perry was subsequently elected Governor in his own right in 2002 and successfully ran for a second full term in 2006.

Perry's overall poll ratings had plummeted since the 2002 election, plagued by budget woes, battles over school financing reform, and a contentious and controversial redistricting battle. His approval rating dropped to 38% during the latter part of the 2005 legislative session. Perry then improved from this position, more recently holding a 44% approval rating, with 51% disapproving, as of a September 2006 poll.[2] Texas election laws do not require a run-off in the event that a solid majority is not achieved, and so Governor Perry joined only two other Texas governors to achieve the office by a plurality of less than 40%. The Texas Governor Elections of 1853 and 1861 both won with less than 40% of the vote[citation needed].

Despite weak polling numbers, Perry had the support of the Texas GOP. According to Perry's campaign website, he gained 142 separate endorsements. Perry had endorsements from virtually the entire Texas GOP Congressional delegation (all but two members)[citation needed], every other Republican statewide officeholder (except Strayhorn and judicial officeholders; the latter by law cannot endorse political candidates), 51 of the 62 members of the Texas Republican Party executive committee (it should be mentioned, however, that someone on the executive committee is in danger of removal for supporting someone other than his/her party's nominee)[citation needed], and nearly every major Texas pro-business, fiscal conservative, and social conservative organization and PAC. Perry even managed to gain the endorsement of the Teamsters Union[citation needed], notwithstanding Texas's strong right to work laws.

Some speculate that Perry would have been defeated had it not been for the two independent candidates dividing the votes of those who disapproved of his leadership. Following the 2006 election, many of Perry's critics disparagingly referred to him as "Governor 39 Percent."


Kinky Friedman contemplates a question from the audience at a campaign rally in Bastrop, Texas.

Kinky Friedman, an independent candidate, gained a good amount of popular support among Texas voters. He claimed that country-music lovers, college students, animal lovers, ranchers, and anyone who didn't vote in the last election were among his supporters[citation needed].

Friedman briefly enjoyed a high standing in the polls, and surpassed Democrat Chris Bell by Independence Day[citation needed]. As Election Day drew near, his campaign fizzled out as much of his wide support was among young voters. He finished fourth in the election with under 13% of the vote. His website claimed that "he doesn't put much stock in unscientific political polls among "likely" voters, saying, "It's Kinky Friedman versus apathy". Friedman stated during that the campaign that he was going after the 71% who didn't make it to the polls in 2002[citation needed].

Friedman was haunted by racially insensitive statements that were made, both during the campaign and during comedy routines twenty years ago. Though these statements were later deemed to have no merit and were in actuality anti-racist statements used in satire[citation needed].


Chris Bell, a former Congressman from Houston, filed an ethics complaint against former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay as a lame duck who had been defeated in his party's primary after the controversial mid-decade redistricting in the state[citation needed]. Bell announced his run in July 2005[citation needed].

Bell's official strategy was to get Democrats to unite behind and vote for a Democrat, predicting (and betting on) a splintering of the Republican vote among Perry, Strayhorn, and Friedman, giving the Democrats the needed plurality to win the election. [3] Running on a platform of ethics reform and education issues, he stayed with the pack of three candidates with better name recognition. After a good debate performance, his poll numbers improved significantly to where he had taken second place in nearly every poll afterward.

Chris Bell finished the election with 30% of the popular vote, which was higher than he had polled at any point prior to the election.


Carole Keeton Strayhorn, the Comptroller of Public Accounts, was initially pegged as running in a potentially contentious three-way Republican primary battle with bitter rival Governor Perry and U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Hutchison declined to run for governor in late 2005, instead opting to run for re-election to the Senate. This left Strayhorn and Perry vying for the GOP nomination. Believing her chances to be better running as an independent and appealing directly to voters, rather than those of the Republican Party first, she announced her intent to challenge him in the general election instead. Had she run in the primary, the December 2005 Scripps Howard Texas Poll of match ups had Perry in the lead against Strayhorn by a 55%-24% margin.

Strayhorn was seen as a moderate alternative to Perry, and found support among moderate Republicans and independent voters. Although a few polls had her tied for second going into Election day, she finished with 18% of the vote, 12% behind Bell and 21% behind Perry.


James Werner was the Libertarian Party candidate. According to Werner's campaign website, he has a Masters degree in Spanish and Latin American literature from the University of California, a Bachelors degree from Vanderbilt University and is currently working for an Austin-based educational software company.

Werner previously ran for Congress in 2004 as the Libertarian nominee. Contending for the 25th District, he garnered 1.7% of the vote.


James "Patriot" Dillon was the only announced write-in candidate, according to information from the Texas Secretary of State's office.


Source Date Bell (D) Friedman (I) Perry (R) Strayhorn (I) Werner (L) Margin of Error (+/-)
WSJ/Zogby October 31, 2006 28.5% 14.4% 36.7% 15% 2.1% 2.9%
Houston Chronicle/KHOU October 29, 2006 22% 10.5% 38% 21% 1% 3.2%
Rasmussen October 27, 2006 25% 12% 36% 22% ** 4.5%
SurveyUSA October 24, 2006 26% 16% 36% 19% 1% 4.3%
WSJ/Zogby October 19, 2006 26.2% 13.2% 37.5% 13% 3.9% 3%
Dallas Morning News October 5, 2006 15% 14% 38% 18% ** 3.5%
WSJ/Zogby September 25, 2006 22.3% 18.9% 33% 15.5% 1.5% 2.6%
Survey USA September 19, 2006 23% 23% 35% 15% 2% 4.3%
Rasmussen September 13, 2006 18% 16% 33% 22% ** 4.5%
WSJ/Zogby September 5, 2006 25.3% 22.4% 30.7%* 11.1% 2.6% 2.9%
WSJ/Zogby August 28, 2006 23.1% 22.7% 34.8% 9.6% ** **
Rasmussen August 9, 2006 18% 18% 35% 18% ** 4.5%
Rasmussen July 24, 2006 13% 19% 40% 20% ** 4.5%
WSJ/Zogby July 24, 2006 20.8% 20.7% 38.3% 11% ** **
Survey USA June 26, 2006 20% 21% 35% 19% ** 4.2%
WSJ/Zogby June 21, 2006 19.7% 17.5% 37.7% 14.1% ** **
Rasmussen June 12, 2006 14% 20% 38% 19% ** 4.5%
Survey USA May 22, 2006 18% 16% 41% 20% ** 4.1%
Survey USA April 26, 2006 15% 16% 39% 25% ** 4.2%
Rasmussen April 20, 2006 17% 15% 40% 19% ** 3%
WSJ/Zogby March 30, 2006 20.7% 16.6% 36.3% 19% ** **
Dallas Morning News February 18, 2006 19% 10% 36% 16% ** 3%
Rasmussen February 14, 2006 13% 9% 40% 31% ** 4.5%
Rasmussen January 5, 2006 14% 12% 40% 21% ** 4.5%

* denotes polling result winner is within the margin of error

** denotes data was not reported by the pollster


Percent change available only for parties that participated in the 2002 Texas gubernatorial election.

Texas general election, 2006: Governor[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Rick Perry 1,716,803 39.03 -18.78
Democratic Chris Bell 1,310,353 29.79 -10.17
Independent Carole Keeton Strayhorn 797,577 18.13
Independent Richard “Kinky” Friedman 546,869 12.43
Libertarian James Werner 26,748 0.61 -0.86
Independent James “Patriot” Dillon 718 0.02
Majority 406,450 9.24
Turnout 4,399,068 -3.40
Republican hold

See also

External links


  1. ^ 2006 Republican Party Primary Election
  2. ^ "Results of SurveyUSA News Poll #10269". SurveyUSA. Retrieved 2007-01-02. 
  3. ^ Stanford, Jason. "3 Republicans, 1 Democrat"". 2 January 2006. Accessed 26 March 2006.
  4. ^ "2006 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Retrieved 2007-01-02. 


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