Incumbent: Republican Gov. Rick Perry
Democrat: Former Houston Mayor Bill White
2008 Presidential Result: Obama 44%; McCain 55%
55+ Population (2009 estimate): 20.1%
Overview: This race has featured charges and countercharges—they don't exactly challenge each other's manhood, but they are close. Bill White wants Rick Perry to debate and has posted ads literally calling him a "coward" for refusing. Perry wants White to release his tax records from the time he was deputy energy in the 1990s and has all but said it's not very brave to keep them a secret. The Texas Farm Bureau, which supported Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the GOP primary against Perry, has declined to support Perry now, a bit of a blow to the sitting governor. The farmers, who almost always support the Republicans in Texas, are upset with Perry, who suggested their support of Hutchison was payback for her backing the financial and insurance industry bailout (the farm bureau has an insurance operation).
50+ Facts: Check the latest economic statistics and details on the state budget deficit.
Fun Fact: A poll shows that members of the Choctaw Tribe support Perry over White 49 percent to 37 percent.
'Wild Card' Issue: Immigration and securing the border. Texas shares a 1,200-mile border with Mexico and is on the front line of the immigration war. White, the Democrat, is emphasizing border security in his advertising and taking Perry to task for not doing more. Perry, who suggested at a recent Tea Party rally that Texas secede, counters that he needs more federal money to do more.
Introduction: Governors' Races Hold High Stakes for the Future