Politics & Government

Texas GOP gubernatorial candidates hit the trail as early voting begins

FORT WORTH — Hoping to fire up supporters as early voting in the gubernatorial race begins today, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison kicked off a "Declare Your Independence" tour Monday, encouraging Texas voters to declare their independence from Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

Hutchison will be among several candidates casting their ballots today to bring attention to early voting. March 2, the date of the primary election, is also Texas' Independence Day.

"I'm asking for your vote and I'm asking for your help," Hutchison told a crowd of more than 40 gathered in a back room at Billy Miner's Saloon in downtown Fort Worth, where she was joined by former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, a longtime friend; U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth; and other supporters. "I will be a governor who never forgets who she works for."

Perry, Hutchison and Debra Medina, a Wharton businesswoman and tea party activist, top the primary ticket for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

Seven Democrats are vying for their party's nomination: former Houston Mayor Bill White, Houston hair-care magnate Farouk Shami, teacher Felix Alvarado, physician Alma Aguado, college professor Clement Glenn, private investigator Bill Dear and rancher Star Locke.

Down-ballot, there are primary races at all levels of government, from the U.S. House of Representatives to Tarrant County justice of the peace.

As Hutchison was in Fort Worth on Monday, some protesters showed up at her Dallas office, charging that she's "not pro-life." Hutchison said in recent debates that she fears that overturning the Roe v. Wade court decision might create "abortion havens" in some states. She said she has pushed for restrictions on abortions and has a 94 percent rating from the national anti-abortion community.

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