Students say they are unsure about whom they’re voting for in Tuesday’s election for Texas governor.The gubernatorial race includes two independents, a Democrat and a Libertarian, who are all attempting to oust Republican Gov. Rick Perry from office.
Candidates have made border security, gambling, education and taxes the key issues in this election.
Taylor McKittrick, a freshman business major, said he is going to base his vote on issues such as immigration and homeland security but would not say for whom he is going to vote.
Senior political science major John Salas said he won’t vote in next week’s election because he doesn’t like any of the candidates.
Salas said he thinks politicians will act in self-interest to keep themselves in office instead of what is beneficial for society.
“When I find a candidate who isn’t an idiot, I’ll vote for them,” Salas said.
Several students said they have not been happy with Perry’s performance as governor.
If re-elected, Perry would be the longest-serving governor in Texas history. He supports spending $100 million more on border security and building a $184 billion transportation system, according to his Web site.
Junior business major Samantha Jackson said she will probably not vote for Perry again because he hasn’t provided strong enough leadership.
Kyle McCord, a sophomore ranch management major who voted early, said he agreed.
“I haven’t seen much happening with education,” McCord said. “I think Perry could have done better in that area.”
Democratic candidate Chris Bell said his priorities include creating affordable healthcare for everyone and increasing education funding, as well as limiting the amount of mercury emissions from coal plants, according to his Web site.
Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, Republican-turned-independent, said she wants to give teachers a $4,000 pay raise and stop Perry’s proposed transportation system, according to her Web site.
Valerie Martinez-Ebers, an associate professor of political science, said immigration could influence voting, especially in Fort Worth.
“There has been a lot of effort to get Latinos to the polls on this issue,” Martinez-Ebers said.
Joanne Green, an associate professor of political science, said although Mexican-Americans tend to vote for Democratic candidates, there have been efforts in Texas by both sides to register and mobilize these voters.
As far as students go, Martinez-Ebers said, many of her students have expressed interest in Friedman.
“I’m not sure whether it’s his eccentricity or the positions he takes on issues,” Martinez-Ebers said. “But whether they actually vote for him remains to be seen.”
Friedman, a leftist independent, said he wants to send 10,000 National Guard troops to the border and legalize casino gambling, marijuana and gay marriage, according to his Web site.
Libertarian candidate James Werner favors free labor flows over open borders and wants to create a sales tax on all new goods and services, according to his Web site.
Both Bell and Friedman say they would punish Texas employers who hire illegal workers, contrary to Perry and Strayhorn, who say they would not.
Also on the ballot is the U.S. Senate race and numerous U.S. House of Representative races.
In the U.S. Senate, Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison faces very little challenge for re-election from Democratic candidate Barbara Ann Radnofsky, Green said.
Green said the congressional delegation will likely stay in the hands of the Republicans because of the conservative nature of Texas and the implemented redistricting plan.