Texas Republican Governor Perry Defeats White to Win Re-Election, AP Says

Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry, the state’s longest-serving chief executive, defeated challenger Bill White, a Democrat, to win a third full term.

Perry, 60, beat White, 56, with almost 57 percent of the vote to 41 percent, according to the Associated Press, based on early returns.

The second-biggest U.S. state by population has kept its budget balanced through the longest recession since the 1930s and now faces a deficit of as much as $21 billion in its next two-year fiscal cycle, according to legislative analysts. Officials have begun cutting spending even as sales-tax revenue, which funds about half the budget, has begun to rise.

Perry disputed the size of the projected deficit in a Bloomberg Television interview in September, saying it would be about $10 billion to $11 billion.

Texas, with a general-obligation debt rating of AA+ from Standard & Poor’s, its second-highest, went through a transformation during the past 20 years, S&P said in a report last month. The demographic and economic changes left it with a stable housing market, increased commercial diversity, favorable energy prices and strong fiscal health, which let it come through the recession ‘relatively unscathed,” S&P said.

Perry ran on his record of managing the Texas economy, cutting property taxes and securing the state’s border with Mexico, according to his campaign website. Perry, a lieutenant governor who took over after George W. Bush was elected president in 2000, has held the office longer than anyone, surpassing Allan Shivers, who served from 1949 to 1957.

White, who served two terms as Houston’s mayor, challenged Perry’s long tenure as governor and based his campaign on the need to improve the state’s economy, education system and border security, according to his website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Darrell Preston in Dallas at dpreston@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.