Sen. Wendy Davis

Republicans hold double digit lead in statewide races

Republican Greg Abbott continues to hold a double digit lead over Democrat Wendy Davis in the race for Texas Governor, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey.

The poll puts Abbott at 51 percent, to Davis’ 37 percent. Those numbers are similar to the last PPP poll, conducted in November.
In fact, Republicans hold a double digit lead in every statewide 2014 race.

In the race for Lieutenant Governor, Democrat Leticia Van de Putte trails regardless of who her potential Republican opponent might be. Senator Dan Patrick, who came out ahead in the Republican primary, leads Van de Putte by a 16 point margin. A match-up with Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst puts Van de Putte 18 points behind.

Van de Putte’s Republican opponent will be determined in the May 27 runoff election.

 

Wendy Davis to meet privately with President Obama

Sen. Wendy Davis will have a chance to speak one-on-one with the president today. Sources close to the campaign tell Capital Tonight Sen. Davis will meet privately with the president while he’s in Austin.

President Barack Obama is in town for the LBJ Library’s Civil Rights Summit, marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. He’s scheduled to arrive at the airport at 10:30 this morning, then head to the University of Texas campus, where the summit is being held.

Sen. Davis has been tapping into the Democratic donor network from all over the country in her bid to be the first Democratic governor elected in Texas since 1991. However, being linked too closely with President Obama in a red state, where he has consistently weak poll numbers since 2009, could hurt her efforts. Her opponent, Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, has made suing the Obama administration over federal regulations a key part of his campaign speeches.

The Davis campaign is already connected to the Obama team in one sense: she has a joint fundraising effort with Battleground Texas, a group dedicated to turning Texas blue. The group is made up of several veterans of the president’s 2012 campaign team.

 

Capital Tonight: Where does the equal pay issue go from here?

All eyes were on the race for governor this week — specifically the debate over equal pay between men and women.

Both Democrat Wendy Davis and Republican Greg Abbott agree women should be paid the same as men for doing the same job. The disagreement is over a proposed state law known as the Texas Equal Pay Act, and whether Abbott would have supported it.

In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we looked back at how the debate got started and reviewed where the candidates stand.

REPORTER ROUNDTABLE

Will the equal pay issue mark a turning point for the Davis campaign, or is it too far out from November to make a difference? We discussed that question and more with Robert Garrett of The Dallas Morning News, Mike Ward of the Houston Chronicle and our own Karina Kling, whose interview with Beth Cubriel of the Republican Party of Texas sparked much of the week’s debate.

CAMPAIGN FACT-CHECK

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is claiming his opponent, Sen. Dan Patrick, wants to increase the gas and sales tax. But is that claim true? Gardner Selby with PolitiFact Texas and the Austin American-Statesman joined us for a fact check.

Capital Tonight: New fallout in debate over pay discrimination

The fight over equal pay for men and women continues in the race for governor, and the latest dust-up stems from an interview that aired here on Capital Tonight.

This time, Republican candidate Greg Abbott is responding to a statement made by Republican Party of Texas Executive Director Beth Cubriel about Democratic candidate Wendy Davis’ call for a state version of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

“Is it really fair to clog up the courts with litigation that you can take through another avenue and put that ahead of litigation that can only go through the state courts? I don’t think so,” Cubriel said. “Men are better negotiators and I would encourage women, instead of pursuing the courts for action, to become better negotiators.”

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at the slew of responses that followed Cubriel’s statement, and what the business community says the argument should really be about.

VIEW FROM CONGRESS

Congressman Lloyd Doggett joined us in-studio to comment on the governor’s race, along with how enrollment numbers are adding up ahead of the looming March 31 deadline.

Plus, our Capitol Commentators, Harold Cook and Ted Delisi, debated the significance of the fight over wage discrimination.

UKRAINE UPDATE

And new updates from Ukraine are coming in every minute. Global affairs professor Jeremi Suri joined us to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, including a very specific role Texas could play.

Capital Tonight: New poll numbers redefine statewide races

A recent poll is shedding new light on the 2014 elections. Attorney General Greg Abbott led Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis by eleven points in a new UT Austin/Texas Tribune poll. However, timing likely distorted that margin, as the poll was conducted after Sen. Davis’ biography was called into question and before Abbott campaigned with the controversial Ted Nugent.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we dug deeper into the poll numbers and took a closer look at the 2016 presidential race, which could include Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Rick Perry on the Republican side.

BEHIND THE NUMBERS

James Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project, provided perspective on how various factors impacted the poll numbers of the GOP primary races and the governor’s race.

FUNDRAISING NUMBERS

Harvey Kronberg gave his analysis of how the latest fundraising totals will influence the nearing GOP primary races and the governor’s race.

 

Capital Tonight: Davis’ support for open carry draws mixed reactions

Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis is now on record as supporting the open carry of handguns, after registering her position in an Associated Press questionnaire. Davis’ stance puts her on similar ground as her Republican rival for governor, Attorney General Greg Abbott.

In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at the reaction from Sen. Davis’ fellow Democrats, as well as pro-gun Republicans.

CANDIDATE CONVERSATION

The four candidates vying for the lieutenant governor’s office made their cases to the Texas business community Thursday. They’ve done dozens of forums leading into the March primary, but with less than two weeks until early voting starts, the effort to find differences between the candidates is starting to bear fruit.

We sat down with Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson to talk about the state’s drug laws, the Emerging Technology Fund and what separates him from the pack.

CAMPAIGN STRATEGY

Plus, Democrat Harold Cook and Republican Ted Delisi weighed in on the Davis decision and the Patterson campaign from a political strategist’s perspective.

Capital Tonight: Drug testing law delayed by federal timeline

After weeks of heated debate, Senate Bill 21 was passed into law during last year’s legislative session, but it has since been delayed by the US Department of Labor. The bill would require that the unemployed pass a drug test in order to receive benefits.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we look at how the bureaucratic roadblock is reviving debate over the controversial law.

NOTORIOUSLY LOW TURNOUT

Manny Garcia, communications director for the Texas Democratic Party, and Beth Cubriel, director of the Republican Party of Texas, join us to talk about the abysmal voter turnout in Texas and whether the voter ID law will affect turnout.

MEDIA SHUTOUT

The Wendy Davis campaign received sharp criticism from the Texas press after only letting select members of the media into a fundraiser. In response, the campaign is reportedly bringing on an outsider to “right the ship” with its communication department. Harvey Kronberg joined us to provide commentary on how this and other factors influence the governor’s race.

Abbott’s fundraising lead over Davis tops $19M

New fundraising totals from the frontrunner candidates for governor show Attorney General Greg Abbott with a lead of more than $19 million dollars over Sen. Wendy Davis.

Both campaigns released their totals voluntarily Monday, after filing the latest report with the Texas Ethics Commission.  The Abbott campaign reports it has raised $3.1 million in the period from Jan. 1 to Jan. 23, for a total of $29.4 million in cash on hand.

During the same period, the Davis campaign brought in $607,311 and totaled $10.2 million in cash on hand. More than $300,000 of that total comes from the Texas Victory Committee, a joint fund set up between the Davis campaign and Battleground Texas.

 

Capital Tonight: Davis campaign wades through messaging missteps

It’s a tough race to the governor’s office and the attacks on Sen. Wendy Davis are already getting personal. But is the campaign being too careful about controlling the candidate and the message?

In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we explored criticism from political journalists, and we heard the Travis County Democratic Party’s response to complaints after a mostly closed-off event.

WEEK IN REVIEW

From education reform to the race for lieutenant governor, the political world had plenty of food for thought this week. Christy Hoppe of The Dallas Morning News, Scott Braddock of the Quorum Report and Morgan Smith of the Texas Tribune joined us to sort out the most important stories.

CHECKING THE FACTS

Plus, Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas and the Austin American-Statesman joined us to look into claims by Rep. Louie Gohmert and Sen. Davis.

Capital Tonight: Reporters share story behind Wendy Davis details

With months to go until the general election, the debate surrounding the two frontrunner candidates for governor has already turned personal. The latest round includes a hidden-camera video calling negative attention to the “Stand With Wendy” slogan, while a recording released by the Lone Star Project brings gender and disability into play.

In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we put the public attacks into context and hear how the Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott campaigns are responding.

CAMPAIGN REACTION

The week started off with Sen. Davis defending her personal narrative, after an article in The Dallas Morning News called some biographical details into question. Eventually, even the article’s author, Wayne Slater, was drawn into the fray. We sat down with Slater and Peggy Fikac of the San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle to talk about how Davis became the week’s biggest story.

FACT CHECK

Plus, Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas joined us to verify a new claim from Sen. Ted Cruz about the Obamacare rollout.