Cigar smoke and politics hung heavy in the air Thursday night at Heroes and Legacies in South Lubbock, where former gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman was out promoting his new line of cigars.
Oh, and there were a few jokes, too.
But the famous singer, novelist, politician and humorist couldn't escape the flood of fans who seemingly had one question on their minds: Would Friedman run for governor again?
"I sure wouldn't do it again as an independent and I can't afford to do it as a Republican, so I'd have to run as a Democrat," he said. "One thing's for sure. When I die, I want to be cremated and have my ashes thrown in Rick Perry's hair."
Friedman's 2006 campaign may not have been strong enough to put the 64-year-old in the governor's chair, but he managed to garner more campaign contributions in Lubbock than any other candidate with 39 percent of the more than $18,000 directly donated to the campaigns.
Friedman's visit came a day after Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison announced in Lubbock that she would be looking seriously into running for the Republican primary in 2010.
Of Hutchison, Friedman said he's always liked the senator and he would favor her if the race became tight between her and Gov. Perry, though he doesn't believe she'd offer the change he said so many Americans affirmed with the election of Barack Obama.
"I don't think Perry's a bad guy, I just think there is a real vacuum of leadership," he said. "I'd love to see a race between (Hutchison) and Perry. That'd be fun."
Monte Long, 30, said he came out to meet Friedman because he enjoyed the opportunity to meet someone interesting, not because he associates with his politics.
But if Hutchison wins the Republican nomination, Long said he doesn't see the cigar-smoking celebrity having much of a chance of beating the more experienced senator.
"It'd be tough," he said.
Kathy Clayton, who works in office management, said she voted for Friedman in 2006 and would do it again if given the chance because she believes he could do some good.
"He's just down to earth and he's got common sense and I think he's honest," Clayton said. "If he does it again, I think people will know he's serious."
Friday, December 05, 2008