Reporting Jack Fink
NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – During her first day on the campaign trail, Democrat Wendy Davis reminded members of the Fort Worth Rotary Club of her time on the City Council there, which is non-partisan.
She said that commitment to people, not a political party, still inspires her today. “To be a person who brings diverse perspectives to the table and doesn’t always fit neatly in a category that some might think based on party affiliation connected to their name.”
Both Republican candidates for Governor, Greg Abbott, the Texas Attorney General, who’s the frontrunner, and former Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken paint Davis as a liberal who’s aligned with President Obama’s liberal policies.
For now, Davis and her campaign say they want to unite Texans. She made no mention about the highly publicized fight she led in the Senate Chamber to temporarily delay new abortion restrictions – a divisive fight that ultimately propelled her to run.
Republicans, like former State Party Chair Cathie Adams, won’t let her forget it. Adams said, “What I saw when I sat through her filibuster in the Senate gallery was chaos. That woman does not know how to control. She does not even have a message that’s winsome. She owns the abortion issue.”
Many agree education and the economy are the most important issues facing Texas. But can Davis win in solidly Republican Texas?
Davis faces an uphill battle, but Matt Angle, a top Democratic strategist, who’s consulting with Davis’ campaign, says it’s still possible. “It’s important to remember that no Democrat has really tried to win statewide in more than a decade,” she said adding, “that there hasn’t been any real energy or financial support behind the Democrats.”
Adams has a different opinion. “I think Greg Abbott will win, but I also think we cannot take any vote for granted.”
Pauken’s supporters believe their candidate will beat Abbott in the primary.
On Friday, Davis took an indirect jab at Abbott’s decision this week to back out of the Justice Department’s lawsuit aimed at blocking the merger between American Airlines and US Airways. She said she has supported the merger since the beginning.
Pauken also criticized Abbott for initially opposing the merger.
For his part Abbott said politics had nothing to do with his decision to join and then drop out of the U.S. Justice Department’s lawsuit. He says he was simply looking out for Texans’ best interest.
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