Republicans in Texas are back on their heels as Democrat Wendy Davis has cut Republican Greg Abbott’s double-digit lead down to 7 points in the race for Texas governor.
A poll by the Emerson College Polling Society has confirmed that the Wendy Davis campaign is on the rise in Texas. The first poll taken after the Texas primary has found that Democrat Wendy Davis has erased Republican Greg Abbott’s double digit lead. As recently as three weeks ago, a Texas Tribune poll found Abbott leading Davis by 11 points, but Abbott currently leads Davis 49%-42%.
Two developments have put Greg Abbott on the defensive. First, his decision to campaign with Ted Nugent has hurt him with voters. Forty two percent of those polled felt that campaigning with Nugent had no impact on their support, but 39% said that it hurt Abbott, and only 13% felt that it helped the Republican candidate.
Texas pundit Harvey Kronberg recently discussed Wendy Davis’ growing momentum. Kronberg said, “We are seeing something none of us has anticipated, and that is the Abbott campaign is on the defensive. First, they had the Ted Nugent experiment which was supposed to be about the second amendment and ended up being about child predators. The second event was the Lily Ledbetter Act which is about equal pay. They want to talk about process. But the message that is breaking through now anyway is about equal pay for women. If you have a series of additional issues like that that seem to put the republicans on the wrong side of women, then all bets are off as to how this election will actually turn out.”
Republicans thought that they would have this contest in the bag by now. They attacked Davis early and often with snide comments about “abortion Barbie,” and they even tried to smear her life story. The Davis campaign has been aggressive. They pounced on the Ted Nugent story, and have hammered the Republicans for their refusal to support equal pay for women.
There is a lesson in what Wendy Davis is doing for all Democrats across the country. Davis isn’t trying to be Republican lite. She is waging a campaign on her terms. The fact that she has put the Republicans on the defensive in flagship red state of Texas is quite an accomplishment, but the Davis campaign does not appear to be content just to go down swinging.
Wendy Davis is mounting a legitimate challenge to the Republican stranglehold on the governor’s mansion, and her campaign is doing it with issues like equal pay. If Davis can successfully shrink the margin to five points or fewer, she has a chance to win.
Texas is definitely becoming more competitive, and Wendy Davis is among those leading the charge to turn Texas blue.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association