May 20, 2014

Texas guv race — Abbott, Davis debate over debates

So far, Greg Abbott has agreed to just 1.5 debates during the general election campaign.

The second one, on Oct. 3, would only be broadcast by Gannett stations. Even with a "live online feed," restricted coverage means we must count this as just half a debate in publicity terms.

Davis has countered by wanting six. It's true that the person trailing usually wants more.

That said, Davis was smart to bring this up early.

As for a debate in July? Unless that's just an easy throwaway negotiation point, that's dumb. She should have said five, not six, and started her calendar after Labor Day. Asking for a debate that early makes you look desperate, and that's the last thing you want right now.

A debate with a Spanish simulcast? Smart. Puts Mr. "I Just Found Out I Have a Mexican Wife" on the hot seat a bit. Also undercuts claims that she's afraid of a debate in the Valley.

I also hope that she proposed dates that aren't all on Friday nights, i.e., Texas worship services at high school football.

A Wednesday deadline for Abbott's camp to respond, even though we're in mid-May? See "desperation," above. Especially since the Valley debate that Abbott's accepted was on the table the end of last month.

Davis also would have been smart to appeal to an outside body, like the Texas chapter of League of Women Voters.

So, if we're scoring this in political chess match terms? Davis gets a C-minus at best on debate debating so far. Thought the Battleground Texas shake-up of her campaign staff would have done better on this one. It's never a good idea to look desperate while trying to not look desperate.

And, if Abbott simply stiffs her, like Rick Perry did with Bill White, what then? I know that you don't telegraph a Plan B in public, but you've got to have one.  And, given the "July" and "late response" items I noted, it had better be a good one.

Anyway, it's not a real debate of Brandon Parmer of the Greens and Kathie Glass of the Libertarians are not there, right?

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