Farouk Shami's red-carpeted gubernatorial candidacy coming-out party was staged more like a scene out of Fashion Week than anything Texas Democrats typically put on. But the stagecraft, the experienced campaign team he's assembling and the statewide ad buy that begins today is all aimed to quell doubts about whether he's making a serious run.

Shami on Thursday reasserted his pledge to spend $10 million of his personal fortune on his primary bid, and said he will raise another $10 million dollars from supporters.

"That's for the primary only," he said.

Before Shami decided to fund an electoral bid of his own, he was one of the top donors to Kinky Friedman's failed 2006 bid for the state's top job. Shami's business partner, John McCall, is a part owner of Farouk Systems, but the two men may find themselves on the opposite sides of this race. McCall was listed, until last February, as Friedman's campaign treasurer.

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