Perry Wins Governor's Seat Again

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The Associated Press reports Republican Governor Rick Perry has won re-election.

Perry led Democrat Chris Bell and independents Carole Keeton Strayhorn and Kinky Friedman throughout the returns.

Perry wins his second full term. Then-Lieutenant Governor Perry ascended to governor's job in December of 2000 when George W. Bush resigned to become president. Then Perry won the governor's office outright in 2002.

Key findings from a poll of voters in the Texas election for governor:

PERRY STRENGTHS: Republican Gov. Rick Perry corralled about three-fourths of the GOP vote despite a challenge from Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, a Republican who ran as an independent. Perry also got nearly two-thirds of the votes of conservatives, those who support the war in Iraq, and those who approve of President Bush's performance.

PERRY'S WEAKNESSES: By a slim margin, voters disapproved of Perry's job performance. Fortunately for him, those voters were split among three main challengers.

BELL STRENGTHS: Democratic challenger Chris Bell would have run very close to Perry in a two-way race. About two-fifths of those who voted for Strayhorn and Friedman would have backed Bell in a two-way race. Bell won about half - the largest share - of voters who oppose the war and disapprove of Bush's performance.

BELL'S WEAKNESSES: Bell won the votes of nearly two-thirds of Democrats, but that was an underwhelming performance since - unlike Perry - he faced no independent challenger from within his own party. Bell carried only half the liberal vote, and only about one-third of Hispanics, who traditionally have backed Democrats.

STRAYHORN'S STRENGTHS: Not many. Strayhorn picked off about one-fourth of those who disapproved of Perry's job. She needed much more.

STRAYHORN'S WEAKNESSES: Strayhorn, a Republican, won support from only about one in eight GOP voters - barely more than independent Friedman. She had similarly low support from conservatives, and won only about one-fifth of moderate voters.

FRIEDMAN STRENGTHS: The author and independent candidate may have brought new voters to the polls: one-fourth of his supporters said they would have stayed home in a Bell-Perry race.

FRIEDMAN'S WEAKNESSES: Despite his maverick image, he got only a few more independent votes than traditional politicians Perry, Bell and Strayhorn.

Exit poll conducted for The Associated Press and television networks by Edison Media Research/Mitofsky International among 2,077 Texas voters, most of them as they left 25 precincts Tuesday but including 700 absentee or early voters interviewed by telephone during the past week. Margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall sample, larger for subgroups.