Sen. Wendy Davis

Abbott, Davis Release New TV Ads

Democrat Wendy Davis hit Republican Greg Abbott with another attack ad, Monday. This time, Davis is accusing Abbott of failing to investigate reports of sexual abuse at a state run school overseen by the Texas Youth Commission.

According to the ad, the Texas Rangers requested that the Attorney General’s office intervene in the investigation into reports that administrators at the school were sexually abusing young boys. The ad insinuates that Abbott refused to get involved because he was covering up for the TYC.

According to the Abbott campaign, the Attorney General’s office could not legally intervene in the case unless the local district attorney made the request, which did not happen until a year later. 

“Sen. Davis can distort the facts in her ads, but no amount of distortion can cover her despicable practice of repeatedly using public office to personally profit,” said Communications Director Matt Hirsh. “We now know that before she was lining her pockets at the taxpayers’ expense as a state senator, Sen. Davis was voting to steer millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to clients of her title company as a Fort Worth City Council member.” 

This is Davis’ second attack of this nature. Davis’ first TV ad attacked Abbott over his ruling in a 1998 case involving a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman who raped a woman in her home.

Abbott, meanwhile, released his own TV ad, Monday. The straightforward, 30-second spot touts Texas’ economy and business-friendly environment.

Capital Tonight: Governor’s Race Gets More Personal

A new autobiography dives deeper than ever into Wendy Davis’s personal life, while her opponent Greg Abbott questions whether her promotion of it is breaking campaign finance laws.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we check in on the balance between personal and political in the governor’s race.

ON THE AGENDA

Gov. Rick Perry is talking economics in Asia, while his legal team takes another swing at trying to quash the felony counts against him. The Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg joined us to weigh in on both stories.

‘RACE FOR THE FUTURE’

Hispanic voters are being courted more than ever by the Republican party. Can they reverse decades of Democratic support? Mike Gonzalez of the Heritage Foundation talked about his new book, “A Race for the Future: How Conservatives Can Break the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans.”

Organizers of South Texas Gubernatorial Debate Clarify Details

Now that Attorney General Greg Abbott has pulled out of the televised gubernatorial debate with State Sen. Wendy Davis scheduled for Sept. 30 in Dallas, does that leave all of us without a statewide televised debate? That depends on your definition of statewide.

According to WFAA-TV, theirs would have been the only debate available in every television market in the state. That would have included all Gannett-owned stations in Texas in the following markets: Abilene, Austin, Beaumont/Port Arthur, Corpus Christi, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Tyler/Longview, San Angelo, San Antonio, Waco, and Bryan/College Station. Any station located in a non-Gannett market would have also been allowed to broadcast the debate.

According to Carlos Sanchez, editor of the McAllen Monitor, the debate his newspaper is co-sponsoring will air on all Sinclair-owned television stations across the state, including: Amarillo, Austin, Beaumont/Port Arthur, El Paso, Harlingen/Weslaco/Brownsville/McAllen, and San Antonio. While it is not be available to English-language stations in other Texas markets, it will be available live on the Internet, and will be simulcast in Spanish on all Telemundo stations in Texas. That debate is scheduled for Sept. 19.

As for formats, WFAA indicated theirs would have been a “round-table” format without strict time guidelines. Sanchez said the Rio Grande Valley debate will have a more traditional format, with timed responses. Each candidate will get one minute to respond to a question, and 45 seconds to offer a rebuttal. There will be no opening statements. Each candidate will receive two minutes for a closing statement.

 

 

 

Texas Candidates for Governor Respond to School Finance Ruling

Any possible changes the Texas Legislature makes to the school finance system will happen under the watch of the next governor. 

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott is the current attorney general. His office represents the state in school finance litigation. Officially, his office said he would defend this law in court, just as he would any other law passed by the Legislature.

Later Thursday, his campaign released this statement:

“Our obligation is to improve education for our children rather than just doubling down on an outdated education system constructed decades ago. In my campaign for governor, I have proposed substantial improvements for our schools that will do a better job of educating Texans while spending tax dollars wisely. My plan will make Texas top-ranked in the nation for education by returning genuine local control to school districts, ensuring all children are reading and doing math at grade level by third grade, and graduating more students from high school than ever before.”

Sen. Wendy Davis is also weighing in on today’s ruling. She has long criticized the Legislature’s decision to slash $5.4 billion in school spending in 2011. In a statement Thursday, she said:

“Today is a victory for our schools, for the future of our state and for the promise of opportunity that’s at the core of who we are as Texans. The reality is clear and indefensible: insiders like Greg Abbott haven’t been working for our schools; they’ve been actively working against them. Abbott has been in court for years, defending overcrowded classrooms, teacher layoffs and public-school closings, and today, Judge John Dietz ruled against him. This ruling underscores the crucial need to invest in education and reminds us of just how much our schools, teachers and students have had to sacrifice over the past three years just to get by.”

Davis Team’s First Statewide Ad Attacks Abbott over 1998 Decision

The Wendy Davis team has revealed its first statewide TV ad, an attack on Gregg Abbott over his ruling in a 1998 case involving a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman and the accusation of rape.

Entitled “A Texas Story,” the 60-second ad refers to a 1993 case in which a woman accused a door-to-door Kirby vacuum cleaner salesman of raping her in her own home. The salesman was not prosecuted for the crime, but the case went before the Texas Supreme Court after the woman sued the Kirby company for punitive damages, claiming that a simple background check would have shown the man’s criminal history and prevented the sexual assault.

The court ruled in 6-3 favor of the woman, with then-Justice Abbott joining in the dissenting side. In their dissenting opinion, Abbott and Justice Priscilla Owen said Kirby “owed no duty” to the victim under the circumstances of the case.

You can watch the full ad below.

Capital Tonight: Non-Governmental Groups Describe Efforts to Aid Immigrant Kids

The conventions are over, and now the candidates for governor are back on the campaign trail. For the Wendy Davis team, that means going after Attorney General Greg Abbott for his handling of a legal decision on dangerous chemicals. Meanwhile, Abbott’s campaign is choosing to put Davis’ supporters on the spot. 
In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we checked in on the newest chapter in the fight for the state’s top political spot.

POLITICAL ANALYSIS

Harvey Kronberg joined us to give his take on the day’s political news, including a new report from The Dallas Morning News on donations from the head of Koch Industries’ fertilizer division to Attorney General Abbott.

BORDER REPORT

While federal and state officials flock to the border demanding answers, humanitarian groups are figuring out how they can help. We spoke to Bee Moorhead from the Texas Interfaith Center about how religious leaders are working together. Plus, Austin attorney Jay Brim talked about the effort to pull together unpaid legal help for the kids involved.

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Capital Tonight: Convention-al Proceedings and the Fight for Texas

 

We visited our reporters on-scene in Dallas to see how the Texas State Democratic Convention is going, and checked in on some big names. Democrat Joaquin Castro, U.S. Rep. for San Antonio, District 20 joined us Friday. He answered our questions regarding the viability of their party, the immigration situation in South Texas, and his brother’s expected promotion to Washington. Also, we asked his opinion on some unconventional strategies which Republicans hope will dampen the festivities in Dallas this weekend.

POLITICAL PREDICTIONS

Democrats weren’t the only ones busy this weekend. Attorney General Greg Abbott, Republican candidate for Texas Governor, visited South Texas to view the detention centers housing Central American minors. A sharp increase in numbers of youths crossing the border has spurred action from several Texas political players. We spoke with Abbott to hear his solution to what some are calling a “humanitarian crisis.” Campaigns for November elections hit the ground running after each party’s state convention. In the last straight away, Republican strategist Rob Johnson and Democratic strategist Harold Cook helped us review the race and predict who’s going to pull ahead. The next few months are crucial for all the campaigns, and here at Capital Tonight, we tried to determine their next steps.

REPORTER ROUNDTABLE

Erica Grieder with Texas Monthly and Reeve Hamilton with the Texas Tribune joined us to discuss education and security. University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall has come under investigation for suspicious activity, and as the scandal approaches resolution, we talked about possible outcomes. Then, a story far from resolution, the border security concern prompted blame, but who’s really at fault? We dug into the issue in the Reporter Roundtable.

Davis Calls for Special Session to Address Surge of Immigrants

Sen. Wendy Davis is calling for a special session, extra federal support and a declared state of emergency in response to the influx of Central American immigrants at the Texas-Mexico border.

In a letter to Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Davis says the decision to add $1.3 million a week in funding for the Department of Public Safety was a “solid step” by state leaders, but that more needs to be done to address what she calls the “growing crisis on the border.” The Democratic candidate for governor is joining several of the state’s Republicans in calling for an immediate special session to “provide local agencies with the resources they need in order to do their job in protecting local communities and provide appropriate care for these individuals and families.” 

She’s also calling for Gov. Perry to declare a state of emergency for the border region, in order to open up more state funds.

Sen. Davis is in McAllen to view the detention centers firsthand and talk to local officials. Her response comes on the same day that her Republican opponent in the race for governor, Attorney General Greg Abbott, is touring a temporary detention center at San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force Base with Sen. Ted Cruz.

Abbott Maintains Double-Digit Lead Over Davis

The latest University of Texas / Texas Tribune poll shows Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott with a double-digit lead over Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis. The poll, conducted between May 30th and June 8th, favored Abbott over Davis, 44 to 32 percent. Those results are similar to a UT/TT poll conducted in February, when Abbott held an 11-point lead.

The Wendy Davis campaign was quick to point out that Abbott has yet to crack the 50-percent threshold, calling Abbott the “weakest GOP governor candidate in two decades.” Campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas released this statement:

“Once again unable to crack 50%, Greg Abbott is proving to be one of the weakest Republican candidates for governor in two decades. Despite throwing the kitchen sink at Wendy Davis, he’s moving in the wrong direction and energizing our volunteer army – the largest in Texas history – to take advantage of this vulnerability by bringing hundreds of thousands of new voters into the process who won’t be reflected in any poll until they show up on Election Day.”

These numbers, however, may not be far off previous trends. According to James Henson, who co-directed the poll, Gov. Rick Perry held a four point lead over Democrat Bill White  during June polling for the 2012 election.

 

 

 

Capital Tonight: Rep. Pickett maps out transportation funding options

A familiar political controversy has resurfaced in the race for Texas governor.

Democratic candidate Wendy Davis is accusing her Republican opponent, Greg Abbott, of failing to do his job overseeing the state’s cancer-fighting agency. But as Davis denounced her opponent’s actions at an East Austin event Tuesday morning, Abbott supporters were there with a rebuttal.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we took a closer look at how Attorney General Abbott is connected to the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and how his campaign team is responding.

ROADS AND REVENUE

The search for a long-term funding solution for Texas transportation continues. We checked in on a House committee looking at all the options, and we sat down with the committee’s chairman, Rep. Joe Pickett.

CAPITAL COMMENTATORS

Sen. Ken Paxton’s campaign for Texas attorney general suffered another blow after a police association withdrew its endorsement. Our political strategists, Harold Cook and Ted Delisi, weighed in on that development and more.