North Texas Daily

Race for Texas governor approaching

Race for Texas governor approaching

Race for Texas governor approaching
October 17
09:00 2013

Andrew Freeman / Staff Writer

The Texas gubernatorial race will take place Nov. 4, 2014, and campaigning season has already begun. So far six candidates have thrown in their hats for governor.

While Lisa Fritsch, Larry Kilgore, Miriam Martinez and Tom Pauken are all candidates as well, the media attention is on two others: Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis.

“Candidates will stick to party platforms, but focus on issues they have long cared about,” associate political science professor Kimi King said.

Wendy Davis most recently announced her candidacy and has received a lot media attention after her filibuster last year and the one in June.

“A lot of the ‘right’ wants to characterize her negatively with the abortion filibuster, but we love the liberal side of her,” said Mia Witt, special and elementary education junior and president of the College Democrats. “And being pro-choice, though she was a single mother that worked her way through school.”

King said it was this issue that got her the substantial fundraising she needed to “make a good showing.”

“Davis has made her name being a women’s advocate, so she will continue to draw on that,” King said. “The question, and the pivotal issue for Davis, is how to transform that issue from the hot-button that brought her national attention into a broader set of policy points that will sufficiently capture moderate Republicans who might otherwise vote for Abbott.”

Abbott is running to keep Texas conservative and to continue to help business, which Kari Lane, president of the North Texas College Republicans, said is important, as businesses continue to migrate to Texas from places like California to operate.

“Abbott and candidates like Pauken are running to keep Texas as it’s been,” Lane said. “[Davis] is not fiscally conservative, and that’s not job friendly at all.”

Abbott’s big hot-button issue involves keeping Texas’ new voter ID law in place and helping businesses flourish, Lane said.

“More or less, you have to look at it economically,” Lane said. “Texas has a huge job market, and with Abbott and Pauken, they want to keep it that way. Davis would put more regulation on business and raise taxes, and when that happens, businesses will hire less people because of how they will have to allocate their money.”

Lane said this should really be an important issue to college students.

“We like students graduating, and even more, we want students graduating with jobs,” Lane said. “Davis will limit the hiring of students, and who doesn’t want a job when they graduate?”

Davis’ platform also includes the improvement of public education in Texas.

“Her competition likes to call her stupid, but she’s a Harvard graduate and is well educated,” Witt said. “She didn’t just come out of nowhere. She has proven herself a champion of education.”

Another-hot button issue Davis is tackling is healthcare. Witt said the biggest difference between her and competition like Abbott is that she recognizes people need help and recognized when she needs help.

“She believes that even if you are working two or three jobs, you still deserve help,” Witt said. “As a party we definitely acknowledge the moves she has made and see that everyone deserves the same opportunities that Davis received.”

King said that Davis will probably use her pro-choice stance to appeal to certain demographics.

“Abbott and Pauken are die-hard pro-life, and Davis is pro-choice,” King said. “Watch Davis argue that Pauken and Abbott are anti-women to try to pull in moderate women who might otherwise support the Republican party.”

Given its recent national attention, gun control will be another important issue.

“Abbott is for gun rights, and Davis is moderate on guns – this is Texas,” King said. “Pauken is to the right of Abbot on guns.”

At 19, Davis was a single mother working two jobs and going to community college. After two years, she became the first in her family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University as first in her class, and she went on to get her law degree from Harvard University. In 2008, Davis was elected to the Texas Senate.

“She was really our first choice,” Witt said. “If Texans want better schools, increased corporate taxes and equal healthcare opportunities, then they will back her.”

Abbott is currently the Texas Attorney General, and prior to that, served as a justice on the Texas Supreme Court and as a State District Judge in Harris County.

Abbott’s public service began in Houston, where he served as a state trial judge in the 129th District Court for three years. While there, the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists named him “Trial Judge of the Year.”

“We were glad to see that Abbott was running,” Lane said. “Ms. Davis’ plan for Texas is to change it into something more like California. But being pro-life and keeping Texas conservative is a big deal, because it’s what it needs.”

According to a Texas Lyceum poll, a nonprofit, nonpartisan leadership organization, in mid-September Abbot is up 29 percent to 21 percent in a likely matchup with Davis, before she announced her candidacy.

The poll shows him up in most demographic categories, including a narrow lead among women voters.

“Davis was eight points behind in the first poll taken,” King said. “So some may speculate that Davis has a chance of overtaking him.”

This is considering the same poll shows 50 percent of the voters have yet to make up their minds, and with primaries not until March, there is still a lot of campaigning to be done.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott applauds the delegates during the opening session of the Texas state Republican convention at the FWCC on Thursday June 7, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas.  Feature photo courtesy of Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT

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