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Texas gubernatorial election, 1998


Texas gubernatorial election, 1998

Texas gubernatorial election, 1998

November 3, 1998

Candidate George W. Bush Garry Mauro
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 2,550,821 1,165,592
Percentage 68.2% 31.2%

County Results

Governor before election

George W. Bush


George W. Bush

The 1998 Texas gubernatorial election was held on November 3, 1998 to select the Republican Party nomination. The Democratic Party unanimously nominated Garry Mauro – the Commissioner of the General Land Office since 1983 – for Governor of Texas in 1998. Polls consistently showed that Bush had very high approval ratings and led Mauro in every poll by large margins. Bush won in a landslide, carrying 240 out of 254 counties and garnering 27% of the African American vote – which was the highest percentage for any Republican statewide candidate – and 40% of the Latino vote. Bush was inaugurated for a second term as Governor of Texas on January 19, 1999.


  • Background 1
  • Primaries 2
    • Democratic 2.1
    • Republican 2.2
    • Other parties 2.3
  • Results 3
  • Aftermath 4
  • References 5


George W. Bush, the son of former Texas gubernatorial election in 1994 by a relatively small margin against incumbent Ann Richards.[1] Upon taking office on January 17, 1995, Bush had a low approval rating of 37%. Early in his first term, Bush's approval rating increased significantly, reaching 70% by February 1996.[2] In the spring of 1997, Bush signed into law significant property tax cuts. Additionally, Bush had followed through on his campaign promises in 1994, which were reforms to education, the juvenile justice system, and welfare. He also reduced business liability in lawsuits. As a result of these accomplishments, Bush entered the 1998 Texas gubernatorial election with a high approval rating of 76%.[3]


The primary elections to determine the Republican and Democratic nominees for Governor of Texas were both held on March 10, 1998, with the winner of each requiring a majority vote.
Democratic Party Republican Party
Candidates Votes % Candidates Votes %
Garry Mauro 492,419 100.00 George W. Bush 576,528 96.60
R.C. Crawford 20,311 3.40
Total 492,419 100.00 Total 596,839 100.00
Source: Texas Almanac


Garry Mauro, who served as the Commissioner of the General Land Office since 1983, entered the Democratic primary for Governor of Texas. With no other candidates, Mauro became the Democratic Party nominee for Governor of Texas by default and received 492,419 votes during the primary on March 10, 1998.[4]


Incumbent Governor George W. Bush was challenged for the Republican nomination by R. C. Crawford. In the primary election held on March 10, 1998, Bush defeated Crawford in a landslide, with the candidates receiving 576,528 votes (96.9%) and 20,311 votes (3.4%), respectively. Winning a majority of the votes, Bush became the Republican nominee for Governor of Texas in 1998, avoiding a run-off election.[5]

Other parties

In addition to Democrat Garry Mauro and Republican George W. Bush, two other candidates advanced to the general election. Libertarian candidate Lester "Les" Turlington, Jr. unanimously received his party's nomination for Governor of Texas in 1998. Independent Susan Lee Solar would also qualify for write-in candidacy on the general election ballot.[6]


Throughout the entire campaign, George W. Bush led in the polls by wide margins. After Garry Mauro declared his candidacy in November 1997, a Scripps Howard Texas Poll of 793 registered voters showed George W. Bush leading by 68%-16%, with 14% undecided. George Bush spokeswoman Karen Hughes said, "The philosophical differences between Gov. Bush and Garry Mauro are clear and stark. Gov. Bush is a conservative, as most Texans are, and Garry Mauro is a liberal."[7] In mid-June 1998, a Scripps Howard Texas Poll was conducted with George W. Bush versus Garry Mauro. The poll showed 70% likely voters support Bush, 17% favored Mauro, 11% were undecided, and 2% would vote for neither. Bush's approval rating was also virtually unchanged polling at 75%. In response to the poll, government professor at the University of Texas in Austin said, "Gov. Bush looks to be unbeatable, but there's enough time for anything to happen. There is a slim chance for Mauro but still a real chance for him to reach voters with ad dollars and issue choices. It's just too early to call the November election in June."[8]

On June 22, 1998, Mauro called Bush out of touch saying, "Governor Bush is out of touch with the concerns of ordinary citizens and in bed with the giant HMO's." This was because in 1995, Bush vetoed the Patient Protection Act, which would have forced state-regulated healthcare organizations to allow their customers to choose their own doctor. The Patient Protection Act would have also mandated that insurance companies to cover cancer treatment received at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.[9]

Another Scripps Howard Texas Poll was conducted from August 12 to August 27, 1998. It indicated that 77% of likely voters support Bush, 20% favored Mauro, and 1% supported Libertarian candidate Lester Turlington Jr. About 10% were undecided and 2% didn't answer. Again, Bush's approval rating barely fell and was 74% of Texans remarked that he was doing a good to excellent job as governor. Allan Saxe, an assistant political science professor at the University of Texas said, "Now he's ahead [Bush] by an awfully huge margin. If Garry Mauro can close that to a 10 to 15 percent difference by election day, it will be a symbolic victory. But it will be hard to do – a 50-point difference is a big one." Among Hispanics, Bush led Mauro 51%-31%, down from 67%-20% in June.[10]

George W. Bush and Garry Mauro met for the sole gubernatorial election debate in El Paso on October 16, 1998. Initially, Bush seemed rather nervous and defensive. Mauro attacked Bush for his position on teachers salaries and support for a nuclear waste dump in Sierra Blanca. However, Bush was well prepared and attacked Mauro's tax and spending proposals, describing them as "overambitious".[11] The results of the debate would have little impact on the general election in November.[6]

Candidates - Nominating parties Votes %
Republican Party 2,550,821 68.24
Garry Mauro - Democratic Party 1,165,592 31.18
Lester R. Turlington, Jr. - Libertarian Party 20,711 0.47
Susan Lee Solar - Write-in 954 0.03
Total 3,738,078 100.00
Source: Texas Almanac


Following his defeat, Garry Mauro was succeeded by David Dewhurst as the Commissioner of the General Land Office in early 1999.[16] Mauro would later serve as the Texas State Chairman for various Democratic presidential candidates, including for Al Gore in 2000, Dick Gephardt in 2004, and Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008. However, Mauro himself never sought political office again. Eventually, he opened a private law practice in his hometown of Austin.[17]

George W. Bush was inaugurated for his second term as Governor of Texas on January 19, 1999. With his brother sworn-in as Rick Perry.[19] [3]


  1. ^ TX Governor (1994) (Report). Our Campaigns. May 10, 2010. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  2. ^ Steve Ray (November 16, 1997). "Governor has highest rating in more than a decade".  
  3. ^ a b c d Beatrice Gormley. "Making The Big Run". President George W. Bush. New York City, New York:  
  4. ^ TX Governor – D Primary (1998) (Report). Our Campaigns. June 26, 2006. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  5. ^ TX Governor – R Primary (1998) (Report). Our Campaigns. April 21, 2005. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d TX Governor (1998) (Report). Our Campaigns. May 19, 2010. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  7. ^ "Mauro Hits Trail To Challenge Bush".  
  8. ^ Anna M. Tinsley (June 18, 1998). "Poll shows Bush in a clear lead over Mauro in governor's race".  
  9. ^ Brian Carlson (June 23, 1998). "Texan Mauro Tries Democrats' Health Care Election Theme in Snipe At Bush".  
  10. ^ Anna M. Tinsley (September 1, 1998). "Poll shows Bush would take easy win over Mauro". Abilene Reporter-News. Retrieved May 8, 2013. 
  11. ^ Dave McNeely (October 22, 1998). "After the debate".  
  12. ^ "The Texas Constitution – Article 4. Executive Department". Texas Constitution and Statutes. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  13. ^ George Bush. MSN Encarta. Archived from the original on October 31, 2009. Retrieved August 3, 2008. 
  14. ^ a b Associated Press (November 3, 1998). "Texas Gov. George W. Bush wins in landslide".  
  15. ^ 1992 – Current Election History (Report). Austin, Texas: Office of the Secretary of State. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  16. ^ TX Land Commissioner (1998) (Report). Our Campaigns. June 7, 2004. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  17. ^ "Where Are They Now? Garry Mauro".  
  18. ^ The President & Family George W. Bush (Report). Dallas, Texas: . Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  19. ^ Modern Texas Part 3, 1991–present (Report). Austin, Texas: Texas State Library and Archives Commission. September 20, 2011. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
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