Politics & Government

Dallas business leaders back the Democrat for Texas governor

AUSTIN — More than a dozen prominent Dallas business and civic leaders, including several who supported Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Republican primary for governor, have signed a letter backing Democrat Bill White in his effort to unseat Republican Gov. Rick Perry in the Nov. 2 general election.

"We believe that Texas is ready for a new governor and Bill will serve us well," said the letter, which White campaign spokeswoman Katy Bacon said is being circulated to area business and philanthropic leaders.

The White campaign hopes to use the prestigious names to help the former Houston mayor cut into Perry's support among conservative business circles and illustrate his ability to reach across party lines. But Perry's camp also touts a hefty list of endorsements and strong support in the Texas business establishment.

John Adams, former chairman and CEO of Chase Bank of Texas, said the majority of the signers are moderate Republicans like himself. But he said some are independents who have supported both Democrats and Republicans.

He said the letter is aimed at appealing to "independents and Republicans that Bill may be able to pull across the aisle and show his bipartisan support."

About half the signers supported Hutchison in the primary, according to White's campaign.

"Obviously we think Perry ought to be replaced," Adams said.

Among the signers are Dallas investor Edward "Rusty" Rose, a prominent supporter of former President George W. Bush who served with Bush as a partner in the Texas Rangers baseball club; former Pizza Hut executive Mike Rawlings; and Lucy Billingsley, who heads a multimillion-dollar real estate company.

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