AddThis ShareCONTACT: Jessica StarkPHONE: 713-348-6777EMAIL: [email protected] U. political scientist available to comment on Texas governor’s and House races‘White’s thoughts now must begin to turn to his 2012 campaign for the US Senate’Rice University political scientist Mark Jones is available now through Election Day to comment on the Texas governor’s race between Gov. Rick Perry and former Houston Mayor Bill White. Jones provided the following commentary for attribution in news reports:“With only three weeks remaining until Election Day, and less than one week before early voting begins, the door is slowly closing on the possibility of a Bill White victory over Gov. Rick Perry in this year’s gubernatorial contest. Over the past seven months, despite White and his supporters’ substantial advertising campaign and his tireless efforts to meet with voters throughout the state, White has been unable to significantly reduce the approximately 6 to 8 percent difference in the polls that has separated him from Perry. While White’s quest for the governorship is not a lost cause, time is rapidly running out for the type of game-changing event he needs to dramatically alter the dynamics of the gubernatorial campaign.“With victory increasingly unlikely, White’s thoughts now must begin to turn to his 2012 campaign for the U.S. Senate. A strong showing against Perry Nov. 2 (more than 45 percent of the vote) in what is turning out to be a very difficult year for Democrats nationwide would make White an early favorite for the 2012 Senate race. Conversely, a poor performance (less than 40 percent of the vote) would raise serious doubts about White’s viability as a statewide candidate.”Jones, who has also conducted research on the Texas House, provided the following statement regarding House races:“Republicans are certain to increase their number of seats in the Texas House of Representatives, picking up between five and 10 seats currently held by Democrats while losing only one or two seats presently occupied by Republicans. Ironically, a substantially larger Republican delegation in Austin in January may increase the prospects for efforts by conservative Republicans such as Warren Chisum (Pampa) to oust current Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio. In 2009, Straus himself overthrew then-Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, with the backing of a handful of moderate Republicans and an overwhelming majority of Democrats.”Jones, who is Rice’s Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies, professor and chair of political science and fellow in political science at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, can conduct interviews in English or Spanish and may be reached at [email protected] or 713-348-6777.