Wendy Davis

Abbott Releases First Attack Ad

Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott is attacking Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis’ ethics in the Senate in a new television ad. The ad renews accusations from the Abbott campaign that Davis abused her position in the Senate to profit in the private sector. Abbott also alleges that Davis’ legal work is subject to an open investigation by the FBI.

The Davis campaign was quick to respond, calling the ad a ‘desperate attack.’ 

“It is the clearest sign yet that Greg Abbott’s lead is steadily eroding and that they are forced to distract from his unethical record, such as using his office to side against patients maimed and killed by a sadistic surgeon after accepting $250,000 from the hospital’s chairman,” said spokesman Zac Petkanas. That claim was the subject of Davis’ most recent TV ad.

The campaign also points to a PolitiFact Texas finding that rated Abbott’s claim that Davis is currently under investigation by the FBI ‘False.’

Abbott Campaign Questions Legality of Davis Book Tour

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott is questioning the legality of Democrat Wendy Davis’ upcoming book tour. Davis memoir, ‘Forgetting to be Afraid,’ goes on sale Tuesday. Davis has book signings scheduled across the state this week.

Abbott’s campaign manager Wayne Hamilton is requesting an opinion from the Texas Ethic Commission about campaign finance laws in connection to the tour. In a letter sent Monday morning, Hamilton raises several questions- including whether or not Davis’ publisher should be allowed to pay for the tour and other promotional events. Under Texas law, corporations are prohibited from contributing to political campaigns.

The letter reads, in part, “The goal of this advertising is nearly identical to the goal of advertising done by the candidate’s campaign; that is, to raise the candidate’s name identification, increase the public’s opinion of the candidate, and otherwise promote the candidate to the public.”

The Davis campaign maintains that the book tour is well within the law. ”We were very careful to follow every legal guideline,” said spokesman Zac Petkanas.. “This frivolous stunt by the Abbott campaign is the clearest sign yet how worried they are about the power of Wendy’s story.”

Some advance copies of Davis’ memoir have already been released. The book reveals that Davis underwent two abortions for medical reasons during the 1990s. Davis launched into the national spotlight after her 13 hour filibuster to try to defeat stricter abortion laws in Texas, last legislative session. Davis said in an interview on ABC News Saturday that she did not bring up her own abortion story at the time because she did not want to overshadow the events of the day.

Candidates for Governor Settle on New Statewide Debate

After a week of back and forth, the candidates for governor have finally settled on a statewide televised debate in Dallas. Sen. Wendy Davis confirmed Wednesday that she will participate in a KERA/KXAS-TV debate on Sept. 30.

Sen. Davis and Attorney General Greg Abbott were initially scheduled to take part in a WFAA-TV debate scheduled for that same day. Friday, however, the Abbott campaign backed out, citing a dispute over the proposed round-table format. Instead, he proposed an alternative statewide televised debate on KERA/KXAS-TV; an offer the campaign had initially declined.

In a statement Wednesday, Davis campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas said:
“After a conversation with KERA this morning, we have agreed to a debate format that should give Greg Abbott the confidence he needs after his multiple losses in the courtroom over the past week. However, no debate rules will protect Greg Abbott from having to explain the $5.4 billion in public education cuts he’s defended, siding with a corporation against a rape victim and allowing his donors to make off with tens of million of dollars meant for cancer research.”

Davis’ concession comes after days of debating over debate formats and disagreements over which station would sponsor the forum. Yesterday, Davis announced that she would be willing to reconsider WFAA’s proposed round-table format. Abbott refused to return to the negotiating table, saying he’d already made a new commitment to KERA.

Both candidates have also agreed to a September 19 debate in the Rio Grande Valley. That debate will be seen on Sinclair stations in major markets across Texas, with the exception of Dallas and Houston.

Gubernatorial Debate Debate Continues, Candidates Unable to Agree

Updated with Sen. Wendy Davis Response:

The candidates for governor are still sparring over the format and sponsor for a September 30 debate. Democrat Wendy Davis announced today that she would be willing concede to a change in the debate format for the originally agreed upon WFAA-TV sponsored debate.

Last week, Republican Greg Abbott backed out of the round-table match-up, citing a disagreement over formatting. Instead, he proposed an alternative statewide televised debate on KERA/KXAS-TV. Abbott had previously turned down that offer, but changed his mind on Friday.

Tuesday, the Davis campaign released a statement saying they would be willing to reconsider. “We have spoken with WFAA this afternoon and expressed our willingness to alter the previously agreed upon debate format to accommodate the Abbott campaign’s concerns about the lack of timed responses,” said campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas.

The Abbott campaign, however, says it will not return to the negotiating table. ”Greg Abbott is and has been ready, willing and eager to participate in two statewide debates,” campaign manager Wayne Hamilton said. “Only after losing the debate to other outlets did WFAA ask for and receive permission from the Davis campaign to restructure the debate – something they could have done three months ago or even three days ago.”

Update:

Davis is leaving the door open to the possibility of the alternate debate, however the campaign is critical of Abbott’s refusal to participate in a format with looser restrictions. In a statement, spokesman Zac Petkanas said:

“If Greg Abbott isn’t tough enough to handle a roundtable discussion in front of a statewide audience, it’s hard to see how he’s tough enough to be Governor of Texas. However, the fact that Greg Abbott isn’t willing to keep his word shouldn’t deprive voters of the chance to see both candidates debate issues like his defense of $5.4 billion in public education cuts.  In that spirit, we will open discussions with KERA tomorrow regarding the possibility of a debate.”

Attorney General Abbott says he will still take part in the KERA/KXAS-TV debate. Both candidates have also agreed to a September 19 debate in the Rio Grande Valley. That debate will be seen on Sinclair stations across Texas.

 

Davis Responds to Abbott’s Decision to Cancel Debate

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott has backed out of the only scheduled statewide televised debate before the November election. The debate, which was to be hosted by WFAA-TV, was set to be held in Dallas on Sept. 30. Station officials say Abbott’s campaign cited concerns over the format as the reason for the reversal.

In a statement on their website, WFAA-TV General Manager Mike Devlin said,

“We are deeply disappointed that the Abbott campaign has not lived up to the commitment it made to participate in this important debate. WFAA has produced numerous debates which are balanced and fair to all the candidates. This debate would be no different. The citizens of Texas deserve to hear from the candidates for the most important office in the state.”

Abbott’s Democratic challenger Sen. Wendy Davis had initially proposed six debates across the state. Abbott only agreed to a debate in McAllen later this month, and the now-cancelled WFAA debate.

Davis campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas issued this statement, Friday:

“It’s no surprise that Greg Abbott is pulling out of a long planned debate the day after he was defeated in court for protecting billions in public education cuts that have led to overcrowded classrooms, teacher layoffs and shuttered schools. Greg Abbott is clearly too afraid to defend his record of siding with insiders at the expense of Texans – whether it’s defending funding cuts for classrooms, siding with a corporation against a victim of rape or letting his donors take tens of millions of taxpayer dollars intended for cancer research. This is nothing short of an insult to the voters of Texas.”

Abbott Posts Record-Breaking Fundraising Totals

Attorney General Greg Abbott released his own record-breaking fundraising totals Tuesday. Abbott raised $11.1 million in the last four months, bringing his total cash on hand to nearly $36 million. According to the Abbott campaign, that is more cash on hand than any other candidate in Texas history.

The Abbott campaign also pointed out that 95 percent of his contributions came from Texas.

“The strength of this campaign builds each day, and we continue to be overwhelmed by the support we’re receiving from across Texas,” Abbott Campaign Manager Wayne Hamilton said. “We are incredibly thankful to the many Texans who have contributed to our effort to ensure that Greg Abbott can continue to travel the state promoting his vision to improve education, grow jobs, preserve freedom and ultimately achieve victory in November.”

The Democratic nominee, State Sen. Wendy Davis, has raised a total of $27 million and has about $13 million in the bank. Those totals include money donated to Battleground Texas and the Texas Victory Committee.

Davis Campaign Reports $27 Million in Campaign Contributions

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis has raised $27 million in her bid for governor. According to the campaign, $11.2 million of that was raised between February and June and the average donation was about $105 dollars. After expenditures, the campaign has about $13 million in the bank.

The money raised includes contributions made directly to the campaign, as well as money donated to Battleground Texas and the Texas Victory Committee, which is a joint fundraising venture for Sen. Davis and Battleground Texas.

The campaign is calling its campaign finance figures “historic.” “Not only has this campaign raised record-breaking resources from more than 140,000 grassroots supporters, we have made unprecedented investments on the ground and online that will translate the excitement for Wendy Davis into votes on Election Day,” said campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas.

The Davis campaign likely still has a massive financial disadvantage. As of the last reporting period, Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott had nearly $30 million in cash on hand. He has not announced his totals for this reporting period yet.

Abbott ad strikes back at Davis using ‘Star Wars’

It’s no lightsaber duel, but the latest online ad from the Abbott campaign uses a little light and magic to tie his opponent to the dark side — otherwise known as Hollywood.

The minute-long ad makes the most of Sen. Wendy Davis’s trip to Santa Monica, Calif. today, where sci-fi directors J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg are hosting a fundraiser. The event costs a minimum of $1,000 to get in the door, and includes a fundraising bar of $25,000 for “VIP reception” status.

Attorney General Greg Abbott and the Republican Party of Texas have sought to portray Davis as out of touch with Texas voters by highlighting her out-of-state fundraising trips.

The ad’s YouTube page sums up the most recent attack: “A candidate for Texas governor rubbing elbows with gun-grabbing, ObamaCare-promoting, tax-raising Hollywood elites? It sounds like the plot of a sci-fi fantasy film, but when it comes to Sen. Wendy Davis, it’s a reality show.”

Watch the full ad below.

 

Abbott campaign distances itself from RPT equal pay remarks

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott is responding to controversial comments regarding pay equality by a top Republican Party of Texas official.

On Monday’s Capital Tonight, Executive Director Beth Cubriel said equal pay laws were unnecessary and the solution for pay discrimination lies outside of legislation. ”Men are better negotiators and I would encourage women, instead of pursuing the courts for action, to become better negotiators.”

Those remarks drew a swift response from the Wendy Davis campaign and other Democratic groups, including the Lone Star Project, Battleground Texas and the Texas Democratic Party. They have been firing shots at Abbott over the issue since last week, when Abbott declined to say if he would have supported the Texas Equal Pay Act.

In a statement to Capital Tonight Tuesday afternoon, the Abbott campaign distanced itself from Cubriel’s remarks. Spokesman Matt Hirsch said: 

“Greg Abbott supports equal pay, and he supports Texas and federal law that provides legal avenues for victims of discrimination. The Texas Constitution and both state and federal law guarantee a woman’s right to equal pay in Texas. Equal pay is the law in Texas, and as Governor, Greg Abbott will continue to ensure it’s enforced.

Greg Abbott believes it’s inappropriate to ever blame the victim of discrimination, and he remains focused on ensuring greater prosperity and opportunity for all women and Texans. As a father of a teenage daughter and a husband to a former teacher, Greg Abbott will ensure that growing prosperity in Texas touches all families.”

Lawmakers passed a Texas version of the Lilly Ledbetter Act during the 2013 legislative session. The law allowed a discrimination suit to be filed when the wrong-doing is discovered. Under current law in Texas, there is a 180-day time frame to file such a lawsuit.

Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the legislation, saying it was unnecessary since a federal version already exists. Supporters of the bill, however, say the law would have allowed women to sue in state court, rather than federal court, which is easier and cheaper.

 

 

Capital Tonight: Texans react to judge’s same-sex marriage ruling

Federal Judge Orlando Garcia deemed the Texas ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional Wednesday. Marriage equality advocates praised the decision, while opponents say Texans have already weighed in on the issue. The case will likely be appealed to a higher court.

In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we heard reaction from same-sex marriage advocates and state leaders, plus we looked at how the state could play a role in the next round of national conventions.

TEXAS WRITER’S TAKE

Freelance writer Robert Draper has been drawing the nation’s attention to Texas with in-depth profiles on Wendy Davis and the state’s Democratic party. We spoke one-on-one with Draper about his view of the efforts to turn Texas blue.

BATTLEGROUND BIRTHDAY

Harvey Kronberg discussed the constitutionality of the new same-sex ruling and the progress of Battleground Texas on its one-year anniversary.