Texas Media Play Their Gotcha Games as the Governor's Race Winds Down
Leading by a mile or several in the polls, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott went to the polls Thursday to cast his vote in the state's elections. The Republican governor nominee cast his vote on the penultimate day of early voting.
After casting his vote, Breitbart's Sarah Rumpf reports that Abbott engaged in a Q&A with press.
Texas is facing a number of issues that the next governor will have to deal with, including in no particular order, the economy, the border and the threat of crime and even terrorism that comes with it, education, the state budget, water, windstorm issues, and so forth. Or energy and the EPA, Obama's post-election amnesty surprise, next year's legislative session, which will be Gov. Abbott's first as the top official in the state, the new Congress in Washington. The point is, Abbott could have been asked to opine on any number of issues, and he would have done so. He doesn't hide from the media.
As you can see from the end of Rumpf's story, abortion turned out to be the dominant issue. Which is convenient, if you're Wendy Davis and you're looking to attack Abbott on a wedge issue or disrupt his momentum at the last minute.
Wendy Davis wasn't there. Reporters were. A witness who was there tells me that of the four or five questions reporters asked Abbott, two were about abortion.
That line of questioning follows a couple of media stories that read like attempts to insert abortion into the campaign at the last minute, and weaken Abbott's image as a staunch pro-life candidate. That would be helpful indeed, to Wendy Davis.
The Democrat nominee famously tanked in the key Rio Grande Valley during her party's primary. A Democrat cannot lose that part of the state and expect to be anywhere close to winning the election. Davis rose to fame by filibustering an abortion bill that eventually became law. But the heavily Hispanic and heavily Catholic Valley is also pro-life. That's a problem for Davis, so much so that she during a stop in the Valley early on in the campaign she claimed to be "pro-life." No one bought that.
It's not a problem for Abbott. Texas is a pro-life state. Davis' hard-line stance on abortion could help Abbott build support in what is usually strong Democrat territory. But the issue could become a problem for him with the GOP base, if his pro-life bonafides can be called into doubt. It wouldn't cost him the election, not at this point, but it could depress some of his potential conservative vote and make the final results closer than they otherwise would have been.
Democrats and the media would use that to argue that Davis did better than expected, that the next Democrat candidate might have a chance, Texas might be turning a shade purple, and so forth. Democrats want to build something useful from Davis' candidacy, and the media want them to do that, if only to make elections in Texas more interesting for them to cover. Media here are always complaining about how uncompetitive the state's elections are now that Republicans dominate.
Abbott's answers to the press after he voted ought to quell any doubt. He's Catholic and he is as pro-life today as he has always been. He is defending HB2 in court because it is state law and it is the attorney general's duty to defend state law.
On this issue, as on so many issues, there is a strikingly clear contrast. Wendy Davis filibustered against even modest restrictions on late-term abortion, and against upgrading the health standards in abortion clinics, on behalf of the abortion industry/lobby. Abbott is pro-life and supported the bill that Davis opposed. He wasn't in the legislature and therefore did not vote on it, of course, but he supported it. He is doing his official duty in defending that law, a law that does enjoy majority support in the state. Not in the media, evidently, but among the voters. Wendy Davis supports the full Obama agenda. Greg Abbott has fought that agenda in court for six years, and would fight it as governor.
The media's peculiar interest in asking Abbott about abortion at this point in the campaign is of a piece with its attempt to drag interracial marriage into the race. That backfired -- they forgot that Abbott is half of an interracial marriage. His Hispanic mother-in-law has turned out to be his charming secret weapon. Putting abortion front and center this close to the election is really about trying to damage Abbott a little bit on his march to the governor's mansion. Which obviously would help Wendy Davis and the Democrats, a little.