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Ex-Democrat Seeks to Govern Texas

June 19, 2005|From Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — Carole Keeton Strayhorn, the fasttalking state comptroller who makes sport of chastising Republican Gov. Rick Perry, said Saturday that she would challenge the governor in next year's GOP primary.

"Now it's time to replace a do-nothin' drugstore cowboy with one tough grandma," Strayhorn, 65, told a cheering crowd.

Strayhorn, a former Democrat known for her sharp tongue, has been attacking Perry's leadership and criticizing him as failing over the last year to bring lawmakers to a consensus on public school funding.

Her announcement came after Perry vetoed education funding in the state budget bill and called lawmakers back to Austin for a special session on school finance. Lawmakers did not approve a new school funding plan during the legislative session that ended May 30 nor in a special session last year.

"A leader does not hold our children's education hostage and certainly would never even allow a discussion about school not opening on time because he cannot fix what is broken," she said.

Perry spokesman Luis Saenz said Strayhorn's announcement that she was running for governor was no surprise -- "she has been doing that for the last two years as she neglected her duties as comptroller."

On Friday, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison announced that she would run for a third term, ending months of speculation that she would challenge Perry next year in the GOP primary.

Perry, who is seeking his second full term, became governor in 2000 after George W. Bush resigned to become president. He was elected to a full term in 2002.

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