Democrat: Wendy Davis; Republican: Greg Abbott. Davis’ birthplace: West Warwick, Rhode Island; Abbott’s birthplace: Wichita Falls, Texas. Davis fought trials as the product of divorced parents; Abbott was sentenced to life in a wheelchair after a jogging accident. Texas’ two candidates are worlds apart, but both offer Texas perseverance.
Announcing his candidacy for governor in July of 2013, Attorney General Greg Abbott told the Austin American-Statesman, “Some politicians talk about having a steel spine. I actually have one. I will use my steel spine to fight for Texas values every single day.”
Senior political science major Robbie Cuadros agrees with that statement.
“Gregg Abbott offers much of the same that current governor Rick Perry has,” he said. “More jobs, mostly from the oil industry, and he is a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment. These policies have helped make Texas a thriving economy and a desirable place to live.”
Republicans quickly judged Davis as an Obama cohort. One of her opponent’s advertisements showed a plaque reading “Governor Barack Obama, Texas,” as a voice-over alarmingly supposed, “Barack Obama as governor of Texas?”
“Abbott was smart to tie Wendy Davis to President Obama since his approval rating is at an all-time low, especially here in Texas,” Cuadros said.
With Election Day set for Nov. 4, political jabs from both campaigns have begun to intensify.
The Davis campaign was met with a barrage of criticism, even from some of her own supporters, for an ad attacking Abbott. It began with a shot of a wheelchair and proceeded to convict Abbott of hypocrisy for trying to limit the amount of damages plaintiffs can receive in personal injury lawsuits, when he himself won a multi-million dollar settlement from an insurance company.
Senior marketing major Ryan White has seen the occasional political punches both sides have given and taken in the campaigning process, but he said, “An effective leader can take jabs, but respond with truth.”
So far, both sides of the gubernatorial race have played the nasty game of politics.
“Overall, I think the American people are turned off by politics right now,” Cuadros said.
And with a state weary of politicians, especially those from Washington, it’s unlikely Texas will go blue.
Senior history major Joshua Hosack said, “I don’t think Texas will go with a democrat this year. I believe Texans, the majority of which are conservative, will stick to their guns and continue to vote so.”
That’s the general vibe on campus and around the state. The Fort Worth Star Telegram featured an article claiming Wendy Davis faces long odds without an ‘October surprise.’
In it, Mark P. Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston, said “Wendy Davis’ odds of victory right now are at best 1-in-100, with only an almost unprecedented October surprise standing between Greg Abbott and victory. The Davis campaign was a long shot the day she launched her candidacy and continues to be one today.”
Davis was out-gunned from the beginning. The latest reports show Abbott’s campaign dominated fundraising by amassing $30 million in comparison to his counterpart’s $5.7 million.
“I believe Greg Abbott did a better job reaching out to all Texans,” Cuadros said.
But when it came to televised debates between the two, Texas Monthly’s Paul Burka believes Davis swept the floor.
He wrote, “Davis is a state senator who has fought her battles on the Senate floor. She’s just a lot more knowledgeable about state government than he is–and it showed.”
Most polls beg to differ.
“Wendy Davis had no real message other than the ‘republicans are bad’ message overused by all liberal candidates. You can watch the debates and come to that conclusion very easily,” Cuadros said.
Both candidates offer Texas a way forward, but as always, Texans care about the issues, and for now, the state still bleeds red.