Archive for October, 2014

Abbott Holds Commanding Lead in New Poll

With fewer than two weeks until Election Day, a new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll shows Republican Greg Abbott leading Democrat Wendy Davis by 16 points in the race for governor. The poll shows Abbott with 54 percent to Davis’ 38 percent.

In the race for lieutenant governor, Republican Dan Patrick is maintaining a commanding lead over Democrat Leticia Van de Putte. The poll puts Patrick ahead 52 percent to 35 percent.

Lt. Gov. Candidates Release New TV Ads

The candidates for lieutenant governor released dueling television ads Tuesday. Sen. Dan Patrick took aim at his Democratic opponent, with a 30-second spot called “Liberal Leticia.” The ad highlights what Patrick calls Sen. Leticia Van de Putte’s ‘liberal pro-tax record.’

“Senator Patrick sponsored one of the biggest tax cuts in America during the recession,” said campaign strategist, Allen Blakemore. “Patrick has helped Texas lead the nation in job creation through conservative principles – a clear contrast to Van de Putte’s job-killing policies.”

You can watch the ad, here:

Democratic Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, meanwhile, released her own new TV ad, called “Rape is Always Rape.”

“Shame on Dan Patrick. He turned his back on rape survivors when Texas had a massive backlog of rape kits,” Van de Putte said in a statement. “His reckless words and actions threaten the progress Texas women have made. Dan Patrick is dangerous for women, and wrong for Texas.”

You can watch the ad, here.

Supreme Court Blocks Texas from Enforcing Parts of Abortion Law

Late today, the Supreme Court blocked Texas from enforcing key parts of a 2013 abortion law that would close all but eight of the state’s abortion facilities.

With three dissenting votes, the court suspended a ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed Texas to enforce a rule making abortion clinics statewide spend millions of dollars on hospital-level upgrades known as ambulatory surgical centers.

The appeals court’s ruling suspended an August decision by U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, who found that such upgrades were less about safety than making access to abortion difficult.

Yeakel’s ruling stopped the requirements, so the state appealed. The 5th Circuit is still considering the overall constitutionality of the measure but allowed it to go into effect.


State Permitted to Enforce Voter ID Law in November Election

Republicans are declaring victory, after a federal appeals court ruled that the state’s voter ID law be in place for the November election. The 5th Circuit’s ruling means that Texans will need to bring one of seven forms of acceptable identification to cast a ballot.

Last week, a federal court in Corpus Christi declared the state’s voter ID law unconstitutional, likening it to a modern day poll tax.
Today’s ruling does not deal with the merits of the law itself, which is still under appeal.

Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is running for governor, had requested that SB 14 remain in effect for this election, while the state appeals the lower court’s ruling. Tuesday, the appeals court agreed. The ruling reads, in part:

“This is not a run-of-the-mill case; instead, it is a voting case decided on the eve of the election. The judgment substantially disturbs the election process of the State of Texas just nine days before early voting begins. Thus, the value of preserving the status quo here is much higher than in most other contexts.”

The appeals court also cited U.S. Supreme Court cases where the justices have been hesitant to “allow such eleventh-hour judicial changes to election laws.”

Abbott Compares Davis to Obama in New Ad

Republican Greg Abbott is hitting back against Democrat Wendy Davis — and President Obama — in his latest TV ad. The new spot started airing statewide Tuesday.

“President Obama may not be on the ballot in November, but his failed policies are reflected in Sen. Wendy Davis’ agenda for Texas,” said spokesman Matt Hirsch. “It’s clear that President Obama has no better ally in Texas than his ideological twin, Sen. Davis.”

Abbott’s new ad comes as fallout continues from Sen. Davis’ controversial ad released Friday. The ad accuses Abbott of collecting millions from a lawsuit after an accident left him paralyzed from the waist down — while blocking similar lawsuits in court.

Davis defended the ad Monday at an event with several disability rights activists and supporters. She said the ad is not about Abbott’s disability, it’s about his hypocrisy.

Democrats are also demanding that Abbott campaign apologize for a statement from a campaign adviser calling one of Davis’ supporters a ‘prop.’ “Greg Abbott’s hypocrisy extends to his staff,” said Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Will Hailer. “Referring to a courageous young man as a prop because you don’t like what he has to say is disgusting.”

Mike Collier: “I’m an Accountant. Not a Farmer”

Comptroller candidate Mike Collier’s new TV ad makes a pretty clear point — he’s an accountant, not a farmer. The ad is an attack on his Republican opponent Sen. Glenn Hegar, who helps run his family’s farm and ranch operation outside of Houston when the Legislature is not in session.

In an email, Collier said, “Glenn Hegar likes to talk about what a great farmer he is, even though it has nothing to do with an office that’s all about accounting and revenue forecasts.” The ad shows Collier riding a tractor and trying to herd cattle. “I thought I’d try my hand at farming to drive our point home, and the results weren’t pretty,” he said.

You can watch the ad here:

Sen. Cornyn Calls on Davis to Pull Down Controversial Ad

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn is joining a rising chorus of Republicans outraged by Sen. Wendy Davis’ new attack ad. The ad focuses on a multi-million dollar settlement Republican Greg Abbott collected after an accident left him wheelchair-bound. It calls into question cases where Davis alleges Abbott fought against victims in similar situations.

Sen. Cornyn Friday called on the Davis campaign to pull the ad. He issued this statement:

“Everyone knows that politics can be a tough business but sometimes certain things are way over the line and running an attack ad on a serious medical accident suffered by your opponent is one of them. It’s my hope that Wendy Davis will immediately remove this ad from the airwaves and apologize to Attorney General Abbott because this line of attack has no place in civilized political discourse.”

Cornyn also called attention to a Washington Post article, calling the ad “one of the nastiest campaign ads you will ever see.”

Abbott: Davis Ad Represents Historic Low

Attorney General Greg Abbott is firing back after Sen. Wendy Davis released a new TV ad calling Abbott’s legal work with accident victims into question. Davis’ ad started airing in major markets Friday. It accuses Abbott of collecting millions from a lawsuit after an accident left him paralyzed from the waist down — while blocking similar lawsuits in court.

“It is challenging to find language strong enough to condemn Sen. Davis’ disgusting television ad, which represents a historic low for someone seeking to represent Texans,” an Abbott spokesman said. “Sen. Davis’ ad shows a disturbing lack of judgment from a desperate politician, and completely disqualifies her from seeking higher office in Texas.” 

The Abbott campaign is also disputing accusations made in the ad accusing Abbott of defending a surgeon accused of operating while under the influence of drugs.  Abbott has argued he was defending the state’s medical malpractice laws, not the surgeon himself.

Davis Campaign Releases Scathing New TV Ad

Sen. Wendy Davis is criticizing her Republican opponent for collecting a settlement following the accident that left him paralyzed — and then fighting in court against similar cases for other Texans. In a press release, the Davis campaign accuses Attorney General Greg Abbott of “seeking justice for himself” and then spending a “career denying justice to other victims.”



Poll Shows Gap Closing in Governor’s Race

Texas Republicans continue to lead in statewide election polls, but Sen. Wendy Davis is gaining some ground in the race for governor.

A Texas Lyceum Poll released Wednesday shows Davis trailing Republican Greg Abbott by single digits. Of those polled, 49 percent of people said they’d vote for Abbott, with 40 percent of respondents saying they’d choose Davis.

The poll shows Davis leads with African-American and Hispanic voters, while Abbott continues to poll ahead with independents.

The Lyceum Poll shows a much larger gap in the race for lieutenant governor. Republican Dan Patrick continues to hold a sizable double-digit lead over Democrat Leticia Van de Putte, with 47 percent to her 33 percent.