A wild Texas GOP primary is getting wilder. A new poll out Tuesday shows Tea Partier Debra Medina trailing Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison by a mere four points, within the poll’s margin of error.
The Public Policy Poll shows Governor Rick Perry leading the field for the Republican gubernatorial nomination with 39% of GOP voters. But he would need a majority of the vote on March 2 to secure an outright victory — any less and he’s headed toward a run-off. Not only is such a run-off looking more likely with the rise of Ms. Medina, formerly the Wharton County GOP chairwoman. But if Ms. Hutchison doesn’t move quickly to shore up her support among conservatives, the candidate who once polled as Texas’s favorite politician may end up the odd woman out.
The PPP poll shows Ms. Hutchison at 28% and Ms. Medina at 24% — up from 16% in last week’s Rasmussen poll, and up from 4% since November. A former nurse and state coordinator for the Campaign for Liberty, Ms. Medina is appealing to voters with populist rhetoric that takes aim at incumbents of both parties. “We Texans are undoubtedly unhappy with how this state has been run for the past decade, which includes having unfunded federal mandates shoved down our throats. The polls demonstrate that dissent loud and clear,” says Ms. Medina.
Not only does Ms. Medina lead among those GOP voters who say they disapprove of Washington; ironically, she leads among those who consider themselves liberal Republicans. Ms. Medina’s pitches to eliminate property tax, protect gun ownership and secure the border overlap most with Mr. Perry’s populist platform. Yet Ms. Medina still seems to be drawing voters away from Ms. Hutchison, not Mr. Perry. Since September, Ms. Hutchison has fallen 11 points in the polls, while Mr. Perry has gained six points and Ms. Medina has catapulted by 20.
Ms. Medina’s biggest problem now is a lack of funding. As of Jan. 21, she had only $68,000 in the bank compared to the $10 million that Mr. Perry and Ms. Hutchison each have socked away.
Medina’s main problem seems to be that of name recognition, which may soon become a non-issue, as she’s scheduled to be a last-minute guest on the Glenn Beck show (the nation’s #3 rated talk show) Thursday morning. You can listen live HERE. (Top left corner icons.)
This may well be the Tipping Point of the Texas Governor’s race. If Kay Bailey Hutchison is surpassed by Debra Medina, it may become a real snakefight from that point on.