Willie Nelson (search) opened up his central Texas ranch and private golf course Sunday, raising an estimated $170,000 for his friend Kinky Friedman (search), an independent candidate for Texas governor.

Friedman, an author and entertainer, will need up to $5 million just to get his name on next year's ballot, managers say.

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura (search), who was elected as member of the Reform Party, joined supporters for lunch and golf. Friedman cited Ventura's success as proof that he become the first Texas independent governor since Sam Houston.

"Jesse is a virtual gold mine of information," Friedman said. "He's been through the fire. He knows what works and doesn't work."

Friedman dished out his signature one-liners along with a $1,000-per-person, buffet-style lunch of brisket, sausage, barbecue chicken, beans and rice. Another table offered vegan and kosher selections.

Nine contributors — including Dick DeGuerin, an attorney for Rep. Tom DeLay — paid $5,000 for a round of golf with Nelson, Friedman and Ventura. DeLay recently stepped down as House leader after being charged with money laundering and conspiracy.

"I'm a yellow dog Democrat, I represent Tom DeLay and I'm for Kinky — I see no contradiction there," said DeGuerin, an unpaid adviser to Friedman.

Gov. Rick Perry is seeking re-election and Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn is challenging him in the GOP primary. Former U.S. Rep. Chris Bell, of Houston, is the Democratic candidate.