Make that two newspaper endorsements for Rick Perry in his quest to win a third full term as governor — although the second one, unlike the first, is the dictionary definition of "ambivalent."

Joining the Waco Tribune-Herald in backing the incumbent Republican over Democrat Bill White is the Midland Reporter-Telegram, whose support for Perry wasn't immediately evident to non-Midlanders yesterday, since its website didn't post a link to the endorsement until mid-morning today. But the paper is barely able to contain its lack of enthusiasm for its own choice. The dead-giveaway headline — "Governor's Race Lacks Real Choice for Midland, State" — is only the beginning:

The decision to endorse a candidate for governor shouldn't have been difficult for us here in West Texas.

However, there are two reasons why this decision has left us scratching our heads. The first is Bill White is not the same old Democrat. The second is Rick Perry.

The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one.

The thrust of the Reporter-Telegram's argument is this: White is a good candidate who knows a lot about energy and isn't the Obama clone the Perry campaign is making him out to be, even if he should have released those tax returns, while Perry has refused to debate, is "thumbing his nose" at editorial boards by not appearing before them, meddles (their word) in higher education policy, has former staffers who are now lobbyists shaping policy, etc.

And yet:

In the end, we plan to endorse Perry — reluctantly. While he has disappointed us when it comes to showing real leadership, we know what to expect for the next four years. No guessing. No leading Texas down a path under a leader within a party which might not have the best interests of our West Texas community at heart. And with redistricting coming up, Midland needs to be certain it has friends in all the right places.

The ideal scenario is Perry will announce the day after election night that this is his last term. And then mean it. Texas needs a change in the governor's mansion after 2014, but it needs to be someone who will have the best interests of Texas voters in mind.

And not Rick Perry.

Perry did not seek the paper's endorsement, just as he has indeed declined to meet with editorial boards across the state. White met with the Reporter Telegram's editorial board just after the primary in March.

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.

Get The Brief

Never miss a moment in Texas politics with our daily newsletter.