Texas Democrats are still trying to sort out their gubernatorial primary in the wake of the last-minute surprises at filing deadline last week. Unsurprisingly for Texas, they had to do with money, which in Texas means at least $2 million for a primary and $3 million or $4 million for the general.
Unexpectedly out: state senator Peyton McKnight, a Tyler oil man, who cited money-raising problems. Unexpectedly in: railroad commissioner Buddy Temple of Dibol, member of a wealthy east Texas timber and lumber family. As expected, still in: land commissioner Bob Armstrong and attorney general Mark White.
McKnight had a good organization and had television specialist Bob Squier and pollster William Hamilton on deck. A down-the-line Jimmy Carter supporter, he also had the backing of Bob Strauss, Carter's 1980 campaign manager and special trade ambassador, but apparently concluded that he would have to use his own money.
Armstrong, the most moderate of the Democrats, could also have trouble raising money. White, a protege of former governor Dolph Briscoe, a conservative Democrat, has good money sources but there is one substantial drawback--many of them also contribute to Gov. William Clements, the incumbent Republican. Democrats contend Clements is vulnerable despite his apparent strength.