Democratic gubernatorial candidates get ready for TV debate - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Democratic gubernatorial candidates get ready for TV debate

UNDATED – Democratic frontrunners former Houston Mayor Bill White and self-made businessman Farouk Shami are set to square off in a live television debate to be streamed right here on KTRE.com.

The debate is Monday, February 8, at 7pm. Texas Association of Broadcasters is providing the hourlong debate to TV and radio stations and station websites.

White, 55, who is running in the Democratic primary against Farouk Shami, White, has served as deputy secretary of energy under President Bill Clinton and was the Texas Democratic Party chairman in the 1990s. He ran the state's largest city for six year and has a proven ability for fundraising. Some analysts put see him as the frontrunner on the Democratic gubernatorial ticket in the March 2 primary.

According to Farouk Shami, things in Texas are heading in the wrong direction and Texas needs to address the escalating costs of health care and health insurance, keeping more jobs at home rather than shipping them abroad, improving public education and reducing pollution. The self-made businessman resides in Houston. The hair-care products magnate points to the success of his company and the creation of thousands of jobs in Texas as some of his qualifications.

Political pundits note no Democrat has won statewide in Texas since 1994. If political ads running this week are any indication, it could be a brutal battle between White and Shami.

Thursday night Shami said ads from his opponent take a backhanded swipe at his ethnic roots. Farouk Shami, a Houston businessman who was born a Palestinian outside Jerusalem, says former Houston Mayor Bill White makes a "racist" remark by talking about being born in San Antonio. Shami made the comment at an event in McAllen Thursday night.  A spokeswoman for the White campaign called Shami's comment "ridiculous."

You can watch the Democratic Gubernatorial Debate right here on KTRE.com, Monday night beginning at 7.

©2010 KTRE/Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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