Several Sundays a year, Texans wake to find not one but two GOP presidential hopefuls inside the state’s borders. The first is, of course, George W. Bush. The second, thank heavens, isn’t Ross Perot—not yet, anyway. It’s Lamar Alexander, the former governor of Tennessee and the Secretary of Education in George Bush the elder’s White House. On February 28, as he does every couple of months, 59-year-old Alexander worshiped at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Dallas. Why there instead of someplace closer to Nashville, his home base? A surprising number of Texas ties. His sister, Jane, is married to First Presbyterian’s senior pastor, Dr. William J. Carl III. His mother, Florence Alexander, lives in Dallas too. His youngest son, Will, is a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin. His wife, Honey, is a native of Victoria; in fact, they were married there—with John Tower in attendance—thirty years ago this summer. And his mother-in-law, Bette Jo Buhler, was vice chairman of the Republican Party of Texas in the sixties. “I know the people of Texas well,” he says, “and I try to go as often as I can.” Often enough to try to steal votes from a certain front-runner? “I have no ulterior motives,” he insists with a chuckle.
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