Texas: Trial lawyers bet big on Bill White

Today’s Dallas Morning News reports that the trial bar is lining up big money to support Democrat Bill White in his race to wrest the Austin statehouse from Gov. Rick Perry, R.

Plaintiffs attorneys gave more than $1.9 million through June, the most recent figures available, to Democrat Bill White’s campaign. And a Houston lawyer is bankrolling a political committee with $3 million to help beat incumbent Republican Rick Perry.

Democrats see in White a viable candidate who could reasonably win. And even though he has expressed tepid support for the Med Mal caps that have made it much harder for trial lawyers to hit the jackpot, they see him as someone they can work with.

Attorneys say that while White might not be a bullish ally, he’s not an intractable enemy like Perry.

“I don’t think we can count on Bill to come in and change the tort system like we might with a really progressive liberal candidate,” said Dallas plaintiffs attorney Debbie Branson. “But again, those of us who’ve been around awhile have learned that maybe that’s not the right thing to do. It’s about fairness.”

The last two polls taken in the race show Perry ahead by 12 and by 6 points. That’s not great, but it means this is one of the Democrats’ better chances for a gubernatorial pickup.

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