AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - In the 30 years he's been raking in money
as a lawyer and businessman, Bill White has also been assembling a
cadre of rich, loyal and influential friends. Now their cash and
support are giving him and the Democrats their best shot at winning
the Texas governor's office since the days of Ann Richards in the
It still may not be enough to end Republican rule in red-state
Texas, but White has already tapped his connections to build a
formidable campaign war chest, including a $755,000 haul in January
that made him the top financial performer in either party for the
month. Recent polls show White is likely to win his party's
nomination for governor. His only other well-funded opponent is
hair-care magnate and political newcomer Farouk Shami.
Richard Murray, a University of Houston political scientist who
has known White almost all his adult life, said the former Houston
mayor has been "accumulating friends and contacts" with an eye on
public office for years.