The swirling force of Texas politics

Meet the "Other" GOP Candidate for Governor

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBCDFW.com
    Debra Medina says she may be a long shot, but she's in the governor race to win.

    Most Texans have never heard of Debra Medina, but that's not slowing her campaign to become Texas' next governor.

    Medina is a nurse by trade, but she said she's been involved in Republican politics as an activist since the early 1990s.
    But on this campaign cycle, the former Wharton County Republican Party chair is going from activist to candidate.

    "I started preparing in February, not to run a campaign, but to be governor of Texas," she said.

    Medina Happy to be Long Shot, But Running to Win

    [DFW] Medina Happy to be Long Shot, But Running to Win
    Most Texans have never heard of Debra Medina, but that's not slowing her campaign to become Texas' next governor.

    Medina is also prepping for her introduction on the biggest political stage, which happens next week in Denton. She'll face the two big names in the race, Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in a statewide televised debate.

    Medina said she's brushing up on policy and the "nitty-gritty" of issues that could come up during the debate. But she is confident she'll do well, even though she's not a career politician with polished talking points.

    When asked which voters she is targeting, she said, "Everybody."

    "There's not a demographic that we talk to -- age, socioeconomic, race, political -- that doesn't get excited about this campaign," she said. "It's that message of freedom, the one that has been fought for since time immemorial, you know? The thing that caused our founders to face King George. That notion that, 'My life ought to be mine, and it ought not be the government's.' That's where we started as a country, that's the idea that undergirds our Constitution, that here are sovereign states and a limited federal government. 'Sovereign state' meaning that except for those things in Article 1, Section 8, there is no authority over the state."

    Medina doesn't see her unpolished political persona as a liability. She said it's one of the things that makes her an attractive choice for the Republican nomination.

    "This is a primary," she said. "This is a vetting process. It's putting up your all-star, you know, putting up your all-American team and don't pick the second-string guy. Vote for the one you really want."

    Medina hasn't released all of her plans for the state if she's elected. Next week, she plans to unveil her immigration policy plans. Later, she plans to talk transportation.

    She has drawn attention, good and bad, on her stance on property taxes. Medina wants to get rid of property taxes, a major source of funding for the state.

    When asked where Texas would make up that money to pay for state programs, Medina said the state would have to cut spending, and consider increases in other taxes, including the state sales tax.

    "You may tax more consumable goods and services, you may apply that tax to things you don't tax today, that's really the Legislature's call," she said.

    Medina also has no problem pointing out where she thinks Perry and Hutchison have failed. She said Perry doesn't "walk the talk."

    "He talks limited government, but the fruit of the Perry administration is bigger government," Medina said.

    Hutchison doesn't get off any easier with Medina. Medina said Hutchison lacks leadership in the U.S. Senate and wouldn't do any better in Austin.

    "The most recent example is a buckle on filibustering health care in the Senate. You [Hutchison] talk about fighting, yet every time the going gets tough, you crumble," Medina said.

    Medina has been crisscrossing the state, talking at rallies and events set up by her regional staffers. She's raised a fraction of the money Perry and Hutchison have reported, but she said it's getting better.

    When campaigns report their fundraising to the state later this month, she'll show that she has raised more than $200,000, she said.

    Some campaign watchers have suggested that Medina won't win the race and  will merely cause a primary runoff between Perry and Hutchison. But Medina said she is more than a "spoiler" candidate. She's hoping her appearance in the statewide debates will help raise her profile and raise money.

    "Long shot? Absolutely. Going to win? You bet," Medina said.