October 01, 2014

#WendyDavis wins debate round 2, still has long road to climb

Friend Perry has a good wrap on last night's second Texas gubernatorial debate.

Wendy Davis clearly landed blows on Abbott, including on his lack of oversight of the Texas Enterprise Fund, as the Observer, linked by Perry, notes:
Davis and Abbott grappled with each other on two wide fronts—the first, over ethics issues. Davis was asked about her legal work, which she rebuffed and went through the list of accumulated attack lines about Abbott’s tenure as AG. (She gave a stronger refutation of the conflict-of-interest charge after she was pressed.) 
But when Abbott was asked (at about 19:45 in the video) about accusations his office helped hide incompetence and mismanagement with Gov. Perry’s Texas Enterprise Fund, he didn’t handle it very well. He offered that the recently issued audit of the fund didn’t single him out for criticism. “From the beginning of my campaign I’ve been questioning this very fund,” he said. (Perhaps, one suspects, because he knew how badly it was being run.) He tried to turn the question back to Davis, but she beat it back forcefully. As to the question of why Abbott’s office helped hide non-existing TEF applications from reporters, he couldn’t really answer. 
Too bad, as I previously noted, she didn't do this in the first debate.

But, she laid gloves on him on education funding, Medicaid expansion and more.

For more, here's the Observer's debate video:



That said, how much did this close the gap?

Well, the Texas Lyceum Poll says — Not a lot:


Takeaways?

Greens are fiercely devoted enough that 7 percent of them support a walking dead man as their gubernatorial candidate, among independents.

Davis, whether despite, or because of, soft-pedaling the abortion and reproductive choice issue that got her the Democratic nomination based on last year's filibuster, is barely ahead among women voters. (More thoughts on that later.) Related to that, perhaps, she still trails among independent voters.

Honestly? If she can do better than Bill White in 2010, against a slicker (and richer?) campaigner than Rick Perry, Battleground Texas, Lone Star Project and the Texas Democratic Party should start spinning the "moral victory" angle on Nov. 5.

And, start looking for a new candidate for 2018 ASAP.

Both Castro brothers are in Washington. Julian will go from HUD Secretary to a lobbyist (Univision?) about a week after Jan. 20, 2017. Joaquin's staying in his nice Congress seat. (I keep wanting to call them "Castrol" because they're both good, slick, charming neolibs.) And, per conversations Perry and I have had, Royce West and Rodney Ellis ain't leaving their state Senate seats.

Mayors? Well, we've scratched Castro. Both Castrols, actually. (There, I did it.) Annalise Parker of Houston might eyeball something bigger. Julian Castro's replacement, Ivy Taylor, is a nonentity, and not even running for a full term as mayor in 2015. Dallas' Mike Rawlings is, as far as I know, a Republican. Austin's Lee Leffingwell? Fuhgeddaboutit. He'd be nearly 80. Fort Worth's Betsey Price is a Repub. El Paso's Oscar Leeser might be nice, but the city has little "coattails" with the rest of the state.

At least she's doing better that Letitia Van de Putte, who trails Dan Patrick 47-33 percent in a "soft" race as far as voter commitment. David Alameel is even further behind John Cornyn. So much for Alameel's Daddy Warbucks money.

Texas Dems have one silver lining in Lyceum's executive summary of its polls, which cover other races. That's that they're just 7 percentage points behind the GOP on a generic ballot for the state Lege.


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