Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, 55, has waged long-running battles over Obamacare, the Environmental Protection Agency’s war on coal, and religious freedom with the Obama administration on behalf of Texans. With Gov. Rick Perry declining another run, Abbott announced his plans to seek the Republican nomination for governor back in July. Since that time, his campaign announced that it has amassed a gigantic campaign war chest around $20 million, former Texas GOP Chairman Tom Pauken and former TV host Miriam Martinez have joined the fray in the Republican primary, and, just today, state Sen. Wendy Davis announced her run for the Democratic nomination.
Davis will face a number of obstacles, including her party affiliation — Democrats haven’t won statewide elections in Texas for a very long time, and President Obama lost badly here in 2008 and 2012 — and the fact that she is to the left of Texas’ center of gravity on abortion, guns, and the Obama administration’s policies. Her defense of late-term abortion, which made her famous nationally, may yet prove her undoing in Texas.
PJ recently spent a few minutes with AG Abbott to discuss his battles against Washington, and the campaign.
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“The reason why we’ve been taking on the Obama administration is because I’ve been fighting for less government, lower taxes, fewer regulations,” Abbott said. “And we’ve been winning these fights. I’ve now filed 28 lawsuits against the Obama administration. Only 14 of them have gone to final judgement. Of those 14, we’ve won 10 and lost four.” Abbott added that the lawsuits are aimed at “fighting back against an overreaching federal government that’s trying to impose even more regulations, even higher taxes, even less liberty.”
Abbott had kind words to say for Gov. Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history. “I believe Gov. Perry has been the best governor in the entire country for creating business opportunity, for attracting jobs, for promoting opportunity.” Abbott said that he would keep policies that attract jobs and reward ingenuity. But he says he will be looking for ways to make Texas’ business climate even better, and signaled that the Texas Enterprise Fund might come to an end. He also says he will look for ways to reduce the state’s debt load, which he calls “a form of passive taxation.”
Abbott joined the lawsuit that sought to overturn Obamacare at the Supreme Court, and spares no wrath for the controversial law now. “Well, I think that Obamacare is the worst piece of legislation in my lifetime. Maybe in the history of this country. And, even the architect of it, the Obama administration themselves, realize this is too complicated for them to impose. In fact, what we’re seeing from the Obama administration is, their only pathway out of it is to grant special exceptions,” letting certain groups out of the law’s mandates. Abbott says that if Congress and their staffs get to be exempted, then the people of Texas should also get an exemption from Obamacare as well. He vowed that the fight against Obamacare will continue if he is elected governor. State Sen. Wendy Davis, the presumed Democrat nominee, supports Obamacare, even though it is causing layoffs among Texas businesses.
Abbott pledged that his priorities in the next legislative session including keeping spending tight, eliminating the state’s controversial CSCOPE educational curriculum, blocking Common Core from ever entering Texas, and securing the Texas-Mexico border.
Abbott also vowed to continue defending Texas’ voter ID law, which the Obama administration is suing to block.
“We’ve had voter fraud across the state of Texas; I have prosecuted voter fraud cases across the state of Texas. We’ve had dead people casting votes, live people voting twice, foreign nationals registered to vote illegally. Voter fraud is real. It must be stopped. And we will continue this fight all the way to the United States Supreme Court if we have to, to prevent cheating and illegal voting at the ballot box in Texas.”
Texas history is rife with voter fraud cases. Democrat President Lyndon Baines Johnson built his early Texas political career on voter fraud.
Abbott notes that the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of voter ID, and calls the Obama administration’s lawsuit against Texas’ and North Carolina’s voter ID laws “political gamesmanship.”
What does Abbott think of the Davis factor?
He says the threat isn’t posed by any single candiate, but by the “entire liberal apparatus,” noting that the Obama administration/campaign is investing heavily to “turn Texas into a California-style state.”
“But here’s the reality,” Abbott says. “We know that hard-working conservatives will beat out-of-state operatives every single time.”
Abbott says that the threat from liberal groups like Battleground Texas is very real, but he expects that he and the GOP will prevail.
Texas Monthly, a publication not known for siding with anything conservative, agrees on its October 2013 cover.
Note: PJ has already interviewed Tom Pauken. We have reached out to Miriam Martinez’s campaign for an interview but have not received any response.