Friedman's change of heart Monday left Houston Mayor Bill White and hair-care mogul Farouk Shami as the main Democratic contenders for the governor's seat, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Tuesday.
Friedman, a satirical songwriter and novelist, said former Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower convinced him he could do important things for the state's consumers, farmers and farm land if he were elected agriculture commissioner.
The move, however, was criticized by Democrat Hank Gilbert, a Tyler, Texas, rancher who also is running for agriculture commissioner, The San Antonio Express-News reported Tuesday.
"Since exploring a race for governor, Kinky has had a cigar promotion tour, a book promotion tour and a documentary released about his last run, all in an attempt to promote his publishing and business interests," Gilbert said.
Running as an independent, Friedman placed fourth in the 2006 governor's race with 12 percent of the vote.