Though runoff is still ahead, Andrew White focuses on Greg Abbott

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew White offered a preview Wednesday night of how he’d run against Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, though White has one hurdle to clear before the pair can appear on the same ballot in November: his primary opponent, Lupe Valdez, the former Dallas County sheriff.

At a Lake Travis Democrats-sponsored event that drew more than 100 people Wednesday, White hit Abbott — arguably the most popular Republican in Texas — on the state’s response to Hurricane Harvey, public education spending and for not supporting Medicaid expansion.

“He said no thanks to a $6 billion check,” White said, calling for Medicaid expansion and drawing some applause from attendees. “I truly believe he has blood on his hands for doing that.”

“I can’t believe that,” he added. “If people are dying, you’re doing something wrong.”

White, son of the late Gov. Mark White, said he’s running to bring “sanity” to Texas government.

“That’s how bad things are,” he said.

White also criticized Abbott for not pushing for gun control legislation.

“Our governor has done nothing on gun safety,” he said. “At the very least we have to close a loophole that allows somebody who can’t buy a gun at a store to get one at a gun show.”

White asked the crowd to offer any “bold” actions Abbott has taken in his political career, which has spanned more than two decades.

“For fun, just think to yourself, one thing Gov. Abbott’s done,” he said. “One thing that was bold, that took guts.”

Silence, then groans filled the room.

“I can’t think of one either,” White said. “That should not be the case.”

Tom Delaney, an Apache Shores resident, said he remained undecided about who he’d support in the runoff between White and Valdez. Delaney said he had warned Democrats in 2008 and 2016 that Hillary Clinton was a bad candidate for the party, but people who thought as he did were shut out for having alternative views on who was the best choice to put forward.

“I felt we needed people who don’t have connections to the big banks and are populists,” he said.

Delaney said he isn’t sure if either White or Valdez fit that bill, he said. Delaney said he’s unsure whether White would end up being cozy with the banking industry, but he also isn’t fond of Valdez’s law enforcement background, saying he believes society is becoming more like a police state.

Lakeway resident Robert Plummer wouldn’t say who he supports in the runoff but said he wants progressive politicians to improve the lives of Texans who are less fortunate.

“Our poverty levels are high, our rates of health care are low and we’ve got a lot of people making minimum wage,” he said.

Lakeway resident Carla Hosny said she was unsure of whom she would support until she heard White speak. Now, she’s casting her vote for him, she said.

“We need change,” she said. “We need to turn Texas blue again. We need more teachers. …We need to make (college) less expensive.”

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