Bill White Has Long Political History

Bill White speaking in Austin, TX on November 20, 2009.
Bill White speaking in Austin, TX on November 20, 2009.

Who is this “Bill White” character, where’d he come from, and why’s everyone talking about him?

In the spirit of NBC’s “The More You Know” campaign, here are some helpful links to bring you up to speed.

Remember, you can always get some basic biographical info on the Tribune topic page. (A little preview: “William Howard ‘Bill’ White, born in San Antonio in 1954, is a politician and third-term mayor of Houston, the fourth most-populous city in the country.”)

Poke around a little, and you might also dig up this gem from our own Evan Smith, written after his conversation with White last year on Texas Monthly Talks: “The first thing you notice is that he doesn’t have any Elvis in him, as Molly Ivins might have said—not even a smidgen. Bald, modest, wonkish, with a deliberate way of speaking that verges on eye-gougingly boring, Bill White might have done better in a job that doesn’t require so much interaction with people.”

Up until the expected announcement that he might run for governor, White has been running to replace U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the U.S. Senate — a track that recently encountered a significant road block . As recently as Friday, he insisted that he was not wavering in that goal — you can watch him say as much, once again in conversation with Evan Smith.

Some Democrats, worried about their gubernatorial options, have been hoping that White might make the jump.  Over at Burnt Orange Report, Michael Hurta laid out his reasons for thinking that White is a “much better candidate than Tom Schieffer, Hank Gilbert, or Farouk Shami.” 

Here’s some more good reading — much of it focused on the expected to soon be refocused U.S. Senate campaign — assembled in reverse chronological order:

• “Bill White is the sort of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Schieffer had hoped to be.” — Moderate Democrat 2.0 — The Texas Tribune (November 23, 2009)

• "In case you’ve got a hankering to find out a bit more about the new guy in the race, Texas Watchdog has White’s city ethics forms for 2009 (in three parts — Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) as well as his form for 2008." — Houston Mayor Bill White to run for governor? We've got the new candidate's detailsTexas Watchdog (November 23, 2009)

• “Democrats haven’t won a statewide race since 1994, so why does this middle-aged guy with a bald head and big ears think he's the fresh face of the party? Because outgoing Houston mayor Bill White has a record that makes some Republicans envious, he can raise a ton of money, and he will kiss as many babies as it takes (whether they want him to or not).” — The Great White HopeTexas Monthly (December 2009)  

• “A sprinter's explosive burst or a marathoner's long, steady stride? After nearly a year on the campaign trail, Bill White still does not know for sure what kind of Senate race he is running.” — White's cloudy Senate campaign routeHouston Chronicle (Nov. 19, 2009)  

• “In the latest filings, covering the race through Sept. 30, Houston Mayor Bill White leads the ticket in terms of fundraising, spending, and cash on hand.” — Promising Start for Dem Senate CandidatesAustin Chronicle (October 30, 2009)  

• “He gets to look tough on crime and combat Houston's dreaded image as a “sanctuary city” by showing he cares about ridding the streets of the relatively small percentage of illegal immigrants who are dangerous. At the same time, perhaps he lowers his risk of alienating Hispanic voters. And the immigrant advocates might not be quite so angry with him, although I wouldn't count on it.” — Falkenberg: Mayor wants to rewrite the rules on immigrantsHouston Chronicle (Aug. 5, 2009)   

• “It's always easier when you know who you're running against, but Houston Mayor Bill White sent out a fund-raising email today attacking a yet-to-be-named Republican opponent in the yet-to-be-called U.S. Senate special election if incumbent Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison resigns to run for governor.” — Bill White attacks the unknown opponentTexas Politics (April 11, 2009)  

• “Mayor Bill White officially jumped into the increasingly crowded field of candidates vying for a U.S. Senate seat Tuesday, touting his grasp on energy issues and his experience running the nation's fourth largest city.” — White announces Senate campaign via Web videoHouston Chronicle (Dec. 17, 2008)

• “As the Mayor of Houston, Texas, Bill White marshaled the resources and goodwill of his city to provide refuge and essential services to hundreds of thousands of people who fled the Gulf Coast after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.” — Award AnnouncementJohn F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award (May 21, 2007)

And if that's not enough, there's always Wikipedia.

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