Sunbelt Mud Slides

While the Democrats brawl, the G.O.P. is rested, ready and rich

"She started it," claimed Texas attorney general Jim Mattox, pictured in political cartoons as the aging "Mutant Ninja Candidate." "No, he started it," says state treasurer Ann Richards, the winner of last Tuesday's mud- splattered, swamp-dwelling Texas Democratic gubernatorial runoff.

Whoever threw the first punch, the race that just ended may win the prize as the most negative one ever, even nastier than anything served up in the 1988 presidential campaign. Mattox, whose campaign slogan was "Texas Tough," accused Richards, a silver-haired grandmother and recovering alcoholic, of being a marijuana-smoking cokehead when she was Travis County commissioner more than a decade...

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