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Perry holds solid lead as early voting nears, with Medina running strong in Tarrant area, poll finds

AUSTIN -- With early voting about to commence in the March 2 gubernatorial primaries, Gov. Rick Perry holds a commanding lead over his two Republican rivals, but he may be unable to avoid a runoff, according to a newly released poll for the Star-Telegram and other major Texas newspapers.

The survey shows Perry with 45 percent support among likely Republican voters, while 29 percent back U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Wharton County businesswoman Debra Medina had 17 percent, drawing especially strong support from the Fort Worth metropolitan region, where she is running ahead of Hutchison but behind Perry.