Texans Get Kinky

By Anthony Weiss

Published November 04, 2005, issue of November 04, 2005.

Supporters of writer, musician and Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman recently had the chance to break bread and play some golf with country music legend Willie Nelson and former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura — if they were willing to open up their checkbooks, that is. A $1,000 donation to the 2006 Kinky Friedman for Governor Campaign earned them a seat at an October 30 lunch buffet featuring such delicacies as Texas brisket and jalapeño cornbread and, for those so inclined, a table full of kosher treats. A $5,000 donation earned supporters a round of golf on Nelson’s private course with Ventura and Nelson. Friedman rode along in a cart.

Friedman is running to become the first independent governor of Texas since Sam Houston’s election to office in 1859, with the campaign slogan, “Why the hell not?” The former front man for Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys made his name penning such hits as “They Don’t Make Jews Like Jesus Anymore.” He also has penned a series of mystery novels about a crime-solving Jewish cowboy suspiciously named Kinky Friedman.

His campaign, initially regarded as a joke, has started to attract attention, credibility — and money. The fund raiser reportedly earned Friedman’s campaign more than $150,000, as well as some seasoned advice.

“Kinky’s a jokester, and the media don’t get jokes,” Ventura was quoted as saying in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “When he becomes governor, he will learn you’re not allowed to joke anymore.”

Friedman faces a tough campaign. The fund raiser and accompanying news conference were part of an effort to collect 45,000 signatures from Texans who vote in neither the Republican nor Democratic primary. The Friedman campaign has dubbed the drive “Save Yourself for Kinky.”

Nelson passed on the news conference, preferring a nap. Nevertheless, he stands to earn a promotion of sorts should Friedman win. If elected, Friedman has promised to name Nelson as his energy czar and head of the Texas Rangers. Perhaps looking to balance his ticket, Friedman has said he would appoint Laura Bush head of the Texas Peace Corps. He also has said he would name Farouk Shami, his Palestinian hairdresser, as Texas’s ambassador to Israel.



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