Perry’s 40% Makes Him Governor Just The Same–Our Boy Ralph Yarborough Went To The Senate With 38%
Some have argued that Rick Perry’s lousy 40% vote total last November somehow limits or weakens his so-called mandate as Governor of Texas. I wish this were so—But it is not. Governor Perry won the election and that is what matters.
The Governor may or may not decide to be a better Governor because so many Texans voted against him. Or he may feel liberated that he can serve the next four years while only having to satisfy such a small base. Like it or not, it’s his call to make.
In 1957, the great Texas liberal Ralph Yarborough first won election to the Senate with just 38% of the vote. This is was in a three-way special election to fill the seat of Senator Price Daniel who had resigned to become Governor.
After that election, a law was passed in Austin requiring runoffs for Senate seats. The new law made a difference in 1961 when John Tower finished first with 31 % in a crowded multi-party primary field to replace Lyndon Johnson.
Tower won the runoff with 50.6%.
If a present day Ralph Yarborough had won the 2006 governor’s race with 40% we on the left would quite happy. Given that, we must admit that Governor Perry won fair-and-square.
We only have one Governor at a time. That Governor has all the powers of the office. Regretfully, that one Governor for the next four years will be Rick Perry.