State Sen. Wendy Davis, trailing in the polls and campaign cash, on Tuesday called Attorney General Greg Abbott an “insider” who will cater to wealthy donors instead of average Texans if he’s elected governor in November.
Abbott’s campaign quickly pointed out that Davis has her own wealthy donors — including trial lawyers who have pumped millions into the effort to make her the first Democratic governor in decades — and said that she would pursue their interests if she wins.
Such is the state of the race in the late summer of 2014: both candidates are speaking directly to their base voters and labeling the other as a corrupt insider out of touch with ordinary people.
The blast from Davis came at a press conference in East Austin that was prepacked with Travis County Democratic activists.
Davis said her campaign is experiencing “momentum” that hasn’t been measured in publicly available polling. She cited donations that Abbott has received from payday lenders, chemical interests, insurance companies and other contributors, saying their money tainted his policies and his vision for the governor’s office.
“He’s shown a habit, a practice, a pattern of putting his donors above and against the interests of hard-working Texans,” Davis said. “He will put those well-heeled, well-paid special interests above those of hard working people.”
After her remarks, Davis was asked why voters shouldn’t be just as concerned that she has received millions of dollars in campaign donations from wealthy trial lawyers.
She rejected any comparison between her relationship with donors and Abbott’s, saying she always puts people ahead of contributors. That’s generally what Abbott says, too.
Abbott’s campaign responded even before the press conference, releasing a web ad aimed at turning the tables on Davis. It was entitled, “A political insider not working for you: Wendy Davis’ story.”
In a statement, campaign spokesman Amelia Chasse called Davis’ attacks a “fantasy script.” She highlighted Davis' private legal work for public entities.
“Undermining Sen. Davis' fanciful narrative is the inexpedient fact that she's selling an agenda manufactured by the trial lawyers bankrolling her campaign — all the while using her position to profit at the taxpayers' expense and refusing to release her latest tax return.”
During the exchange with reporters, Davis promised to release her 2013 tax return soon.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2014/08/05/corrupt-insiders-davis-and-abbott-swap-charges/.