Texas gubernatorial election, 2002

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Texas gubernatorial election, 2002
1998 ←
November 5, 2002 → 2006

  Rick Perry by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Candidate Rick Perry Tony Sanchez
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 2,632,591 1,819,798
Percentage 57.8% 40.0%


County Results

Seal of the Governor of Texas.svg
Governor before election

Rick Perry

Elected Seal of the Governor of Texas.svg

Rick Perry

The 2002 Texas gubernatorial election was held on November 5, 2002 to select the governor of the state of Texas. The election was won by Rick Perry, candidate of the Republican Party. Incumbent Rick Perry became governor after Gov. George W. Bush resigned on December 21, 2000, before becoming President of the United States in 2001. He was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1998. Laredo oilman Tony Sanchez finished second, with Libertarian Jeff Daiell placing third. Perry was inaugurated for a full four-year term on January 21, 2003.

In the 2002 gubernatorial election, Perry carried 218 counties while Sanchez managed to carry 36 out of 254 counties. Among likely voters, Perry carried Anglos (70% to 30%), while Sanchez won African Americans (85% to 15%) and Latinos (65% to 35%).


The Republican and Democratic Party primaries were held on March 12, 2002 with the winner of each requiring a majority vote. The Libertarians selected their nominee at their State Convention, being forbidden by Texas statute from holding a primary.

e • d 
Democratic Party Republican Party
Candidates Votes % Candidates Votes %
Tony Sanchez 609,383 60.7 Rick Perry 620,463 100.00
Dan Morales 330,873 33.0
Bill Lyon 43,011 4.3
John Worldpeace 20,121 2.0
Total 1,003,388 100.0 Total 620,463 100.0
Source: Texas Almanac



Incumbent Rick Perry ascended to the governorship of Texas on December 21, 2000 following the resignation of then-Gov. George W. Bush, who had been elected President of the United States. Perry had been elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1998 and previously elected Texas Commissioner of Agriculture in 1990 and 1994 including three terms in the Texas House of Representatives in 1984, 1986 and 1988. He successfully ran for a full four-year term in 2002.

Perry had an ongoing political feud with Democratic Speaker Pete Laney during the 2001 legislative session, and vetoed several pieces of legislation brought forward by several Democratic state lawmakers. However, rumors about fellow Republican U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison launching a primary challenge against Perry had been swirling for weeks, but Hutchison chose not to run for governor, choosing instead to serve as Vice Chair of the Senate Republican Conference to avoid a nasty primary battle that would have divided the Texas Republican Party in time for the general election of 2002. Perry's campaign received the endorsement of former State Attorney General Dan Morales, who lost the Democratic primary nomination, and he also received endorsements from the Dallas Morning News, Abilene Reporter-News, Midland Reporter-Telegram, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, and the Galveston County Daily News. Public opinion polls from Zogby International, Survey USA, and Scripps-Howard showed Perry leading by double-digits and the Perry campaign was outspent by Sanchez by a margin of 12-to-1, with Perry spending $27 million to Sanchez's $76 million.


Laredo multimillionaire businessman Tony Sanchez, had served as a regent of the University of Texas at Austin, having been appointed to the University of Texas Board of Regents by then-Governor Bush in 1997, and he also served on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission from 1985 to 1991-having been appointed by then-Governor Mark Wells White in 1985.

Sanchez was best known for getting involved in successful battles such as: challenging the architectural plan for a new art museum and to consider a Hispanic candidate for President of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Sanchez started making waves on running for governor back in late 2000, when he was helped by Kelly Fero, who served as a consultant on Jim Mattox's unsuccessful campaign for Governor in 1990 and John Sharp's 1998 unsuccessful bid for Lieutenant Governor, and also had discussions with George Shipley, a longtime Democratic strategist and consultant. In the Democratic primary, Sanchez easily defeated Morales by a landslide margin of 60 percent to 32 percent in the March 12, 2002 primary elections. However, the bitter primary campaign between Sanchez and Morales resulted in negative campaign attacks including Morales criticizing Sanchez for connections between a failed Sanchez-owned savings and loan and Mexican drug lords. Sanchez pummeled Morales by picking up the questions on the tobacco settlement and suggested the former Texas Attorney General was only running for office to protect himself from federal indictments. Sanchez managed to get the endorsements from the Austin Chronicle, Corpus Christi Caller Times, and the Waco Tribune Herald during the general election campaign.


e • d Texas gubernatorial election, 2002
Candidates - Nominating parties Votes %
Rick Perry - Republican Party 2,632,591 57.81
Tony Sanchez - Democratic Party 1,819,798 39.96
Jeff Daiell - Libertarian Party 66,720 1.47
Rahul Mahajan - Green Party 32,187 0.71
Elaine Eure Henderson - Write-in 1,715 0.04
Earl W. (Bill) O'Neil - Write-in 976 0.02
Total 4,553,987
Source: Texas Almanac

See also[edit]