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Texas Candidate Accuses Opponent

March 9, 2002

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Texas gubernatorial candidate Dan Morales on Friday accused Democratic rival Tony Sanchez of running a ``patron-style″ campaign typical of political bosses in Mexico.

A spokeswoman for Sanchez, a multimillionaire banker, brushed off the accusation as just another ``hysterical negative attack.″

During a daylong dash through South Texas, Morales said Sanchez was conducting his campaign in a ``political boss style.″

``Often times what occurs in a Mexican campaign is that the candidate, the individual, who owns all the land and who owns all the banks and who owns all the newspapers also believes he can own all the people and the process and the government and that he can buy any office,″ Morales said.

``Well, that may have been the way that it occurs south of the border, but that is not the way it occurs in Texas,″ he said.

Sanchez has a slight lead in recent polls and has significantly outspent Morales, using much of his own money.

Michelle Kucera, a Sanchez campaign spokeswoman, said Morales is waging the same type of attack that he has been for weeks.

``He’s been doing nothing but attacking Tony since he’s gotten in this race,″ Kucera said. ``The hallmark of Dan’s campaign has been one hysterical negative attack after another.″

Morales is running ads criticizing Sanchez’s management of a failed savings and loan. Earlier this week, the Sanchez campaign launched a commercial criticizing Morales’ record on child support collection and attorneys fees in the state’s $17 billion tobacco settlement.

Sanchez campaign officials said the ad was initially aired in response to Morales’ attack ads.

The Democratic gubernatorial primary is Tuesday. The winner faces Republican Gov. Rick Perry in November.

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