Reporting Jack Fink
DUNCANVILLE (CBSDFW.COM) – Before a standing room only crowd in his hometown of Duncanville, Greg Abbott repeated what he started Sunday – he’s running for Governor. “I’m fighting for everyday, hard-working middle-class Texans who work on Main Street.”
Among the hundreds of supporters who packed this drug store and soda shop, Jerre Simmons, one of his high school English teachers. “I loved him. He was as wonderful as anybody I ever met” she said.
Abbott has been a popular Attorney General. His 27 lawsuits against the Obama administration are his hallmark — which supporter Vicky Underhill endorses. “He’s done wonders for the state of Texas. He’s not afraid to go up against Washington, DC.”
Abbott has already raised $21 million for the gubernatorial race.
Governor Perry, who’s not running for re-election, said earlier this year, Abbott wouldn’t have run against him. Abbott says, “We had no deal. He may have known all along he wasn’t going to run so his comment Abbott wasn’t going to run against him turned out to be true.”
On the issues, Abbott told me the most important are jobs and securing the border.
He says public education in Texas needs an overhaul, and he rejects standardized testing. “We need to really dig into the way education is structured in the state of Texas, and the structure to make it both more efficient and more adequate to ensure we have more kids graduating either career ready or college ready.”
Local Democrats say they disagree with Abbott’s support of voter ID, fight against President Obama’s healthcare law, and pro-life views.
Steve Bolden, Treasurer for the Collin County Democratic Party says, “Whether he represents all Texans is a question, and with his track record, it indicates he does not.”
Abbott, who is confined to a wheelchair, rejects that. “My unique life story prepares me to better lead Texas than anyone I’ve ever seen before because for me, I have a physical challenge. I had a horrific accident when a tree fell and broke my back and left me paralyzed. I understand the struggles people face everyday.”
No Democrat has announced they’re running for Governor. But many are excited about State Senator Wendy Davis of Fort Worth who gained worldwide attention leading the fight against abortion restrictions.
Bolden says, “Right now, it’s obvious Wendy Davis is a rock star. She has name recognition not only in Texas, but nationally. The question is will she run.”
For now, many political analysts call Abbott a sure bet.
I asked him if he agrees with with those who say this is his to lose. Abbott said, “You have to fight every single day, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”
Abbott already has a Republican challenger: The former Chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission, Tom Pauken, jumped into the race earlier this year.
Pauken has challenged Abbott to a series of Lincoln-Douglas debates, but Abbott hasn’t agreed to that.
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