Austin American Statesman 
Aug 14, 2011
GOP gubernatorial hopeful Debra Medina, a Wharton businesswoman, started a question to Gov. Rick Perry during Thursday night’s GOP gubernatorial debate by pointing out he hasn’t always been a Republican.
Medina said: “Governor, you were a Democrat, having worked for Al Gore as his campaign manager…”
The Gore-y chapter of Perry’s political life hasn’t come up in a while.
We decided to explore Medina’s two-part claim.
Perry didn’t — and couldn’t — dispute Medina’s reminder that he was once a Democrat. Perry, whose father was repeatedly elected as a Democrat to the Haskell County Commission, won his first election, to the Texas House in 1984, as a Democrat. He won re-election in 1986 and 1988 before switching parties to challenge Democratic Agricultural Commissioner Jim Hightower in 1990 — a race that Perry won in an upset.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
In the debate, Perry didn’t answer Medina’s charge that he was Gore’s campaign manager.
In fact, according to news accounts and Perry’s campaign, Perry served as Gore’s Texas campaign chairman in 1988.