Rasmussen Reports, a reputable nationwide polling house, has released its first poll of the 2014 Texas Gubernatorial Election. The poll asked 500 likely voters on Monday and Tuesday who they would support between now the official Democratic nominee, State Senator Wendy Davis, and Republican nominee, Attorney General Greg Abbott. The poll also asked who the voters trusted more on a slew of issues, including taxes, the economy, government corruption and social issues. The results paint a disastrous picture for the Davis campaign, one that should surely sound some alarm bells in Fort Worth if they are still serious about winning.
In addition to the aforementioned totals in this race (Abbott 53, Davis 41), one more percent selected some other candidate with a mere 5% still undecided. When divided by gender, Abbott leads men by a huge margin (66 to 29) while Davis actually leads among women (53 to 41). I’m not sure what the breakdown by race, ethnicity, geography or age is yet. Additionally, when the poll asked voters who they trusted more on taxes, economical issues, government corruption and social issues, Abbott was the clear favorite for all the choices. Admittedly, Davis did a little bit better on the social issues question, but was still trailing.
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The Texas Tribune reports on a growing cause for concern among Democrats statewide, Wendy Davis’ lackluster primary finish. State Senator Davis (D-Forth Worth), now officially the Democratic nominee for Governor, had a somewhat disappointing finish in the Democratic primary. She faced an individual named Ray Madrigal, who is a Municipal Judge in the Corpus Christi suburb of Seadrift, who spent $0 and engaged in absolutely no campaigning. However, somehow, Madrigal not only racked up over 20% of the vote, he won 25 counties (tied in 2 others), with nearly all of them being Hispanic majority counties.
Perhaps you should read that again: a perennial candidate with no experience and no serious outreach program soundly defeated Wendy Davis in the most strongly Democratic portion of the State purely on the basis of having a Hispanic surname. I make the distinction about Madrigal’s non-campaign because it has relevance when one compares this primary victory with Greg Abbott’s or Bill White’s. Abbott’s opponents engaged in campaigning; indeed, all three of them had campaign websites and one even submitted a Texpatriate Questionnaire. And yet, all put together, the three opponents conjured up less than half the vote-percentage as Davis’ non-opponent.
Click here to see the charts put together on this subject!
The San Antonio Express-News reports that, earlier today while addressing the paper’s editorial board, State Senator Wendy Davis (the presumptive Democratic nominee for Governor) explicitly announced her support for gay marriage for the first time. Further, she expressed her opposition to continued support of Texas’ Defense of Marriage Act against suits in Federal Courts and called on her opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, to stop defending what she called an unconstitutional law.
“It’s my strong belief that when people love each other and are desirous of creating a committed relationship with each other that they should be allowed to marry, regardless of their sexual orientation,” Davis told the paper. “I think it’s important, and I think that people across this country are evolving on [gay marriage] and moving in a direction that demonstrates support for it, so I think it is time to re-open that conversation and ask Texans where they are on it to see if that’s something that we might change legislatively if it doesn’t happen constitutionally.”
The news quickly reached back to Abbott’s campaign, who were very keen to criticize the Davis campaign. A spokesperson called support for gay marriage “the latest whim of the day,” and blasted Davis for instituting “Obama-style” approach to politics. For better or for worse, the idea of state officials picking not a defend state laws or provisions is a tradition that has recently been explicitly condoned by the Supreme Court, specifically in the 2013 case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, wherein both the Governor and Attorney General of California declined to defend the constitutionality of Prop 8.
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The Texas Tribune reports that the first fundraising numbers of the second half of 2013 have come out in the Governor’s race, and the results are surprising to no end. State Senator Wendy Davis, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has raised $12.2M. Meanwhile, Attorney General Greg Abbott, the odds-on favorite for the Republican nomination, raised $11.5M. Davis’ full showing, however, included a joint SuperPAC with Battleground Texas, something that Greg Abbott did not have an equivalent thereto.
More importantly, Davis’ donations mainly stemmed from local sources and included at least one individual from all 254 counties in the State. Additionally, over 71k unique donors contributed to the Davis campaign. In comparison, at this point in the 2010 campaign, Bill White –the Democratic nominee in 2010– had raised money from well south of half that number, with just a fraction of the money. More importantly, of all of Davis’ millions, about 70% of it has come from Texas, and the vast majority in quantities of $25 or less.
The Abbott campaign was quick to strike back, accusing Davis once more of “fuzzy math” for confounding the SuperPAC affiliated with her campaign with her campaign directly. However, such an attack fails to note that this SuperPAC is somewhat dedicated to Davis’ campaign the way that Priorities USA went with Obama or Restore our Future with Romney.
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The El Paso Times continues reporting on a controversy that has been brewing now for a number of days. First, the Times reported last Sunday that the Chairman of the Texas Finance Commission, as well as the Consumer Credit Commissioner, a man named William J. White, has extensive ties to the payday lending industry. Specifically, he is the Vice-President of Cash America, one of the largest payday lending chains. This type of cronyism, of course, is not an especially new move for someone affiliated with the Perry administration, but I digress.
The Times approached White a few weeks ago to talk about the possible conflict, and received nothing but abrasive and laconic retorts from the Commissioner. The article then went on to discuss the many excesses of payday lending and its sometimes usurious tendencies. Sagacious followers of Texpatriate will be very familiar with those excesses, so I will not discuss them here. Otherwise, read the article (it’s quite good).
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“Texas is on ‘Cruz Control.’ Ted Cruz is the epitome of everything that’s wrong with Washington, and John Cornyn is along for the ride. He’s on autopilot, voting the way Ted Cruz wants him to…If Texas stays on ‘Cruz Control,’ we’re headed for a wreck.”
I encourage you to watch the full video. It is rather well-done, though its extended length makes it harder to use as an advertisement and may turn off some lazy people. Maxey Scherr, of course, is a Democrat running for the US Senate. She faces at least four challengers in next March’s primary, in what is shaping up to be the cycle’s most competitive Democratic contest. But from what I have seen in this ad, I think it would be a safe bet to say that Scherr is frontrunner.
Click here to read more about the advertisement!
The Texas Tribune reports that Kinky Friedman, the satirist and comedian who (in)famously ran for Governor as an independent in 2006, will be running for Agriculture Commissioner this year as a Democrat.
Friedman also ran for Agriculture Commissioner in 2010 as a Democrat, but ultimately lost the primary to Hank Gilbert. Gilbert, of course, was a party loyalist who ran a very honorable campaign. Unfortunately, this honorable campaign received 35% of the vote, a full 7% below Bill White (the top Democratic vote-getter that year). I have always maintained that Friedman could have had a more decent showing, but the party base would surely never stand for it.
The Tribune’s article notes that Friedman, who admits he knows little about Agriculture, wants to focus on what he thinks is a big issue: Marijuana legalization. He wants Texas, much like Colorado or Washington, to legalize, regulate and tax the production and sale of cannabis. In previous comments this year about a possible gubernatorial run, Friedman talked up both marijuana legalization and gambling expansion (the normalization of casinos). It appears that Friedman decided against a gubernatorial run when Wendy Davis threw her pink sneakers into the ring.