Friday, May 12, 2006

Texas: Petitions are in, independent ballot access is expensive proposition

Money was big difference in Friedman, Strayhorn petitions
05/12/2006 By KELLEY SHANNON / Associated Press Dallas Morning News -- Political veteran Carole Keeton Strayhorn spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign money gathering voter signatures to qualify as a candidate for Texas governor. Wisecracking musician Kinky Friedman relied heavily on unpaid volunteers.
As the two independent candidates turned in their voter petitions by Thursday's deadline — each had to gather at least 45,540 signatures from registered voters to be on the November ballot — it was clear their tactics differed.
"We covered the bases," said Brad McClellan, Strayhorn's son and campaign manager. He said nothing could be taken for granted in the crucial step of making it onto the ballot.
Strayhorn, the state comptroller who opted out of the Republican primary against Gov. Rick Perry, spent more than $500,000 on the effort, McClellan said. Strayhorn entered the year with $8.1 million in her campaign account.
In the two-month petition period, Friedman's campaign spent $100,000 on radio ads that featured musician Willie Nelson talking about clean energy and that urged Texans to sign Friedman's petitions.
The exact amounts spent by Strayhorn and Friedman will be disclosed in campaign finance reports required this summer. Besides Perry, the other major party candidate in the race is Democrat Chris Bell.

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