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Texas governor race: Davis, Abbott agree to debate this fall

By David Yates | May 29, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) - Amidst the mud-slinging storm that has been the Texas governor's race in recent weeks, the two gubernatorial candidates managed to settle on a place and time to debate this fall.

On Sept. 30, Attorney General Greg Abbott and state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, will participate in a statewide, televised debate in Dallas, WFAA-TV is reporting.

WFAA-TV will host the debate at its Victory Park Studio.

If the candidates' attitudes toward each other are any indicator, the upcoming debate will not be a friendly one.

On Tuesday, Davis sent an email to supporters warning them "Abbott's attack machine is at it again."

"The insiders funding his campaign will stop at nothing to defeat us because they know that when I am governor, their days in power are numbered," Davis says in her email. "Their most recent effort? Defeat Davis -- a new website entirely focused on spreading malicious and misleading information about me to the voters of Texas."

The defeatdavis.com homepage greets visitors by immediately telling them "Davis doesn't share Texas values."

"When it comes to pushing a liberal agenda, Sen. Davis, President Barack Obama, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi are thick as thieves-completely out of touch with Texas," the website states. "Running a campaign that rivals President Obama's assault on transparency, Sen. Davis has used her position to steer taxpayer dollars to her personal bank account."

In April, the Dallas Morning News reported that Davis' legal work for the North Texas Tollway Authority was under investigation by the FBI.

The same day Davis sent out her email, William Martinez, an intern for the Abbott campaign, tweeted: "'Mein Kampf For Publicity' by @WendyDavisTexas #AltWendyDavisBookTitle," comparing Davis' memoir, which has yet to be released, to Adolf Hitler's autobiographical manifesto.

In response, Zac Petkanas, communications director for Davis' campaign, released the following statement: "Whether it's displaying disgusting poster of her as a pregnant Barbie doll or comparing her to Hitler, these vicious personal attacks aren't in line with the values of most Texans."

During her recent trip to Hollywood, Davis, who entered the national spotlight after filibustering a bill restricting abortion access, has been the subject of a wave of recent posters with her head plastered on a Barbie doll's body and a toy baby coming out of the stomach.

On Saturday, Petkanas sent an email to Davis supporters fingering "Abbott allies" for the lewd act.

"Desperate Greg Abbott allies plastered ridiculously offensive posters on phone booths and bus stops that depict Wendy Davis as an "Abortion Barbie," Petkanas wrote in the email.

The life-size posters read: "Hollywood Welcomes Abortion Barbie Wendy Davis" and were commissioned by Kathryn Stuard, an Abbott supporter, who confirmed her role with a May 23 tweet: "I find it fascinating that my support of a talented artist is the story."

Abbot spokesman Matt Hirsch has since issued a statement refuting the posters: "These posters are not affiliated with our campaign and we find them appalling."

Reach David Yates at elections@legalnewsline.com.

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