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James “Big Jim” Walker is a Texan native. He was born in the Western region of Texas in a small city known as Abilene. Indeed, Hylton (2010) says that he belongs to the seventh generation of Texans. As such, many people perceive him as a conservative republican who has experienced most aspects of Texas.
Born of Paul Walker and Marylyn Curtis, big Jim is a Christian owing to his parent’s strong affiliation to the church. Mr. and Mrs. Walker raised him in a context of protestant evangelism and inculcated Christian values to him (Stiles, 2010).
Although walker is a staunch republican, his father is a democrat who has served as a commissioner of Taylor County and later became a member of the board of a local school.
During his school days, Jim became a member of boys’ scout movement and by the time of his graduation, he was awarded a rank of Eagle Scout (Hylton, 2010). The scouts’ organization recently distinguished him as an outstanding member and awarded him with the highest rank in the hierarchy of recognition.
Hylton (2010) asserts that Walker attended high school in his hometown of Abilene. In high school, he was active in football and played as a reliable quarter back of the school team. It is imperative to note that he was able to win three state championships with his team.
He consequently joined the Texas A&M University where his talents in leadership continued to emerge (Stutz, 2010). In fact, Walker was an active member of various associations including the Corps of Cadets. He also held other leadership positions during his time in college.
He graduated successfully after studying business and criminal justice. Walker did not enter the labor market after his graduation but opted to venture into oil and gas businesses. He later joined a ranger school where became a Texas Ranger for almost three decades.
Importantly, it is worth noting that Walker’s father has ventured into oil industry for many years. Due to his success in oil industry, his business investment has paid off handsomely. As such, it is possible that some of campaign contributions will come from his father.
Although Jim is a native English speaker, he speaks Spanish fluently (Hylton, 2010). His main campaign perspective is that tax cuts are important for the economy. He also articulates that the state government should increase the budgetary allocation of the local sheriffs.
Cillizza (2010) points out that his background in criminal justice has influenced his stand on local sheriffs. Jim believes that the local sheriffs should receive grants to enhance their effectiveness in enhancing homeland security. To that end, Jim presents himself to the people of Texas as a person who understands values and has strong roots in the state.
Cultural and Regional Support
Walker will do well in areas where conservative values dominate. His belief in tax cuts serves to entrench his values. To a number of Texans, republicans are best placed to articulate their interests and enhance the preservation of conservative values.
Texas’ largest population belongs to the Republican Party except for the minority groups especially in urban areas. The ideologies of the majority population align to the conservative party but it is important to appeal to the minority population composed of the Hispanics and Blacks (Hylton, 2010).
His ability to speak in Spanish can increase his acceptance to areas where democrats have enjoyed support. For instance, it is apparent that majority of the population in areas inhabited by the minority who voted for Bill White.
Although opinion polls gave Bill White an edge over Perry in the previous gubernatorial race, the republicans were able to amass over 38% in areas dominated by the minority (Hylton, 2010). Although religion stands out as a major political tool in the race for governorship in 2014, Jim Walker will be able to use his Christian faith to appeal to Christian voters who constitute the majority in the area.
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Jim Walker is expecting to emerge tops in the Western parts of Texas. Particularly, he will do well in suburban areas of Rockwall and Montgomery owing to his Texan roots (Stiles, 2010). Like Rick Perry, he will be in a position to woo republicans who live within these areas (Stiles, 2010).
The traditionalist approach to politics of Texas will come out clearly during the elections and he should be able to consolidate his support by posing as one of the Texans with strong roots (Cillizza, 2010).
In fact, the Texans might want to perceive him as a person who understands the issues that are pertinent to the state. His area of emphasis will be informed by the trends that emerged during the 2010 gubernatorial race where Bill White presented a strong presence in the region.
In Houston, Hylton (2010) says that white supporters who supported Rick Perry are likely to vote for him given that Texas is one of the states where the whites have an overwhelming influence on the voters who constitute the minority groups.
This is in addition to San Antonio that gave Perry an upper hand over his rivals despite its perceived support for democrat candidates (Cillizza, 2010). Jim’s ability to speak in Spanish will also serve to win him some considerable number of votes in the lieu of the fact that many Hispanics especially in the Southern counties of the state will identify with him.
Raising campaign funds for Jim will not be an easy task although his association with the white populace who has vast connections may prove to be fruitful. If he wins the primaries, Jim is likely to amass the support of the tea party, which has continued to shape the politics of the state.
Despite the growing influence of the democrats in the recent past, the state has remained to be ‘a republican state’ where majority of his predecessors have won previously. This gives Jim a head start against his opponents especially in the Democratic Party.
Nonetheless, his democratic upbringing and considering that his father is a democrat will help him win some of the votes that the incumbent (Rick Perry) failed to win (Stutz, 2010). Such counties as Trinity and Foard are likely to support his bid despite having supported White during the previous gubernatorial race.
Northern and Central parts of Texas that have been strong support bases for republicans will remain the strongest areas where he can consolidate his support. It is critical to point out that such areas like Hill Country where democrats have had immense support will depend on the issues that he will present especially regarding the economy and education.
Major Campaign Themes
In his campaigns, Jim Walker ought to focus on three major issues that are pertinent to the Texan populace. At the outset, the candidate ought to emphasize on improving the education sector of the state. Since the late 1990s, Texas has suffered in terms of education policies that have presented huge challenges in its labor market.
It is estimated that over 30% of students enrolled in high schools do not finish school and end up dropping out (Cillizza, 2010). According to Stutz (2010), Texas has one of the highest rates of dropouts across the country implying that it may face imbalances in the labor market due to ‘over-employment’.
Besides, education has been a throbbing issue that saw Bill White gaining a huge amount of votes across the state. In addition to high dropout rates, he had argued that Texan students scored lowly in SAT exams when compared to students in other States.
Second, Jim Walker should ensure that immigration plays out as a major theme in his campaign. This is in consideration of the fact that there is the need to secure the Mexican border from illegal immigrants.
This should not be a cause for fear among the immigrants living in parts of Texas like El Paso since the campaign will focus on making the borders safe as opposed to seeking deportation of over twelve million people (Hylton, 2010). Jim Walker has a record of securing grants for the local sheriffs and rangers.
As such, he should campaign towards enhancing law enforcement agencies to patrol the boarders with increased efficiency. This is in addition to enacting laws that secure the Mexican boarder. Thirdly, Walker should highlight the current gun control issue that has elicited a huge debate across the country.
In line with the conservative values, the candidate should continue to support the rights of individuals to possess arms as well as oppose any impending restrictions that the federal government may have imposed on guns by 2014. Research should be a major point to hammer this point given that the current studies have not been able to link gun possession and criminality.
Win or Lose?
The current political status of Texas will remain unchanged for the next few years according to many political analysts. To that end, it is possible that Texas will remain to be a major stronghold of the Republican Party. Walker has a head start for the gubernatorial position considering that he will use the party ticket to steer his campaigns.
To this end, he might be able to consolidate the unwavering support for republican candidates in the central and northern regions of the state. Further, his hometown of Abilene in West Texas is likely to provide a solid support for his candidacy.
Coupled with the fact that Walker’s major campaign theme will be on immigration, his friendly stunt on the current immigrants may earn his support of the minority groups including the Hispanics who have historically voted for democrats.
The national politics will also be a reference point in voting patterns of the state. The rationale is that the democrats have led the country for the last two terms through Obama. Many Texans may therefore hold the notion that their conservative values have not been well articulated by the democrats and as such switch their allegiance to the republicans (Cillizza, 2010). Walker will win in the first round of the election.
Cillizza, C. (2010, March 2).Rick Perry, Bill White win Texas Primaries for Governor. Washington Post, p. 2.
Hylton, H. (2010, March 17). Has a Democrat Got a Chance of Becoming Governor of Texas? Time Swampland, p. 23.
Stutz, T. (2010, October 27). Texas Governor Candidates Clash Over Schools. The Dallas Morning, p. 4.
Stiles, M. (2010, November 5). 2010 Texas Governor’s Race Maps” The Texas Tribune, p. 4.