In primary night speeches, Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis focus on issues that will likely define general election

The Daily Texan — Print Edition Only

by Nicole Cobler and Madlin Mekelburg

FORT WORTH AND SAN ANTONIO — After both candidates secured predictable victories over relatively unknown primary opponents, Democrat Wendy Davis used her primary night speech to highlight the differences between herself and Republican Greg Abbott, while Abbott focused his attention on issues that Davis has made a centerpiece of her campaign.

Davis led Democratic opponent Ray Madrigal with 79 percent of the vote at press time, while Abbott had secured more than 90 percent of the vote over three Republican challengers.

“Now that the primaries are over, it’s time that we turn our eyes towards the general election,” said Abbott, who led Davis by 11 points in the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, at a watch party in San Antonio. “What direction will be the best direction for the future of the state of Texas?”

Abbott advocated for greater cultural inclusiveness, as his campaign continues to try and prevent Davis from establishing a cross-cultural coalition of women and minority voters.

“The blending of cultures in the Lone Star state works,” Abbott said. “We are all people, we are all Texans. It doesn’t matter what your race is, it doesn’t matter what your background is, what your age is, what your ZIP code is; If you are a person in this state looking for opportunity, for a way to get ahead, or elevate or advance yourself, then I am your candidate for governor of this great state.”

Davis alluded to her support for abortion rights, which she has rarely discussed on the campaign trail since her 11-hour filibuster against restrictive abortion legislation vaulted her to national prominence last summer.

“I will be a governor that fights for all freedoms, not just some freedoms for some people,” Davis said at a watch party in Fort Worth. “[Abbott] wants to dictate for all women, including victims of rape and incest, the decisions they
should make.”

Abbott, who has consistently used Davis’ support for abortion rights against her, did not reference the issue in his speech.

The only other specific issue Davis directly mentioned during her five-minute speech was public education funding.

“As governor, I will fight to give our kids a 21st-century education,” Davis said. “Then there’s Greg Abbott — he’s defending those cuts: cuts that laid off teachers and forced our kids into overcrowded classrooms.”

Abbott, however, focused even more attention on education than Davis did.

“As governor, I will never forget that the pathway to a brighter future often starts at the schoolhouse door, and I will make education a top priority,” Abbott said. “We know that parents and teachers at schools know far better how to educate our children than a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. … My goal is to make education in Texas ranked number one in America.”

Abbott, unlike Davis, also discussed the high cost of college education.

“We must make higher education more affordable and accessible to students across the state,” Abbott said.

Attendees at both rallies expressed optimism for their respective candidates’ chances in the general election.

“[Abbott] is a straight shooter, and his compass always points north,” Army Lt. Col. David Freel said at Abbott’s event. “I think he has a better than fighting chance to win in the general election.”

Democratic state representative Chris Turner said Davis has an edge that will attract voters.

“It will be a competitive general election, but I think [Davis] has an excellent chance to win in November because she is a different kind of candidate who is going to run a great campaign, and Texans are going to have a clear choice,” Turner said.

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