Greg Abbott | KERA News

Greg Abbott

Democrat Wendy Davis again accused her Republican opponent for governor of "dodging" when asked if he would have signed state legislation that guaranteed equal pay for women and all Texans. When asked about the Texas version of the federal Lilly Ledbetter law, Abbott told the television interviewer adequate protection already existed. Davis says that's not true in Texas's state courts, where Abbott as attorney general successfully defended the state against a wage discrimination claim made by a female Indian professor at Prairie View A&M University. Here's more on the story:

The process of electing a new governor in Texas begins in earnest Tuesday, when Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis are expected to easily dispatch their primary opponents and move on to the Nov. 4 battle.

As if they hadn't already.

Both Abbott, 56, the state's attorney general and a former state Supreme Court judge, and Davis, 50, a state senator and former Fort Worth City Council member, have been amassing money and press since at least last fall.

Friends from decades ago are at the center of the emotionally-charged, legal battle over same-sex marriage in Texas. 

But they’re on opposite sides.

Plano attorney Mark Phariss is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that led to a federal judge ruling Wednesday that Texas' ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

Greg Abbott, the state attorney general and candidate for governor, is defending the ban and has filed notice he’ll appeal the judge’s ruling.

Anne Marie Fox / Focus Features

Five stories that have North Texas talking: A big weekend for a Dallas-themed movie; Greg Abbott's personal connection to the Texas gay marriage case; Allen ISD is closing its palatial stadium due to cracks; and more.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

What does Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott have in common with Mark Phariss, one of the plaintiffs who sued the state to challenge its gay marriage ban?

They were law school classmates. They knew each other. Phariss tells KERA they were good friends.

And now the attorney general and Phariss, an attorney who lives in Plano with his long-time partner, are on opposite sides of Texas’ brewing battle over gay marriage.

Phariss told KERA Thursday morning that during law school at Vanderbilt, he discussed politics over dinner with Abbott and his wife. Phariss is a Democrat, Abbott a Republican.

Bob Daemmrich / flickr.com/thetexastribune

After what are shaping up to be easy primary wins in March for the leading gubernatorial candidates, Republican Greg Abbott starts the general election race for governor with an 11-point lead over Democrat Wendy Davis, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Meanwhile, several statewide races on the Republican primary ballot — for lieutenant governor, attorney general and comptroller — appear headed for May runoffs. None of the leaders in those races looks close to the 50 percent support they would need to win next month's primary outright.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Update: Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor, responded to Ted Nugent's apology with the following statement:

"I believe Ted Nugent recognized his language was wrong and he rightly apologized. This is not the kind of language I would use or endorse in any way. It's time to move beyond this, and I will continue to focus on the issues that matter to Texans."

Original story: Ted Nugent has apologized for calling President Obama a “subhuman mongrel," but a spokesman for the Wendy Davis campaign says that isn’t good enough.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Rock musician Ted Nugent became the latest flashpoint in the governor’s race as early voting got underway Tuesday.

Alana Rocha (@viaAlana) / Texas Tribune

Rock musician Ted Nugent appeared with Republican governor hopeful Greg Abbott in North Texas this morning – and that’s attracting criticism from Wendy Davis, Abbott’s Democratic rival.

Davis, in Fort Worth this morning, said she thought that Abbott appearing with Nugent on the first day of early voting spoke volumes about the Republican candidate, saying it was “an insult to every woman.” Davis said that’s because Nugent has demeaned women verbally and otherwise.

Doug James / Shutterstock

Five stories that have North Texas talking: A rocker is attracting criticism; another lawsuit in the Six Flags over Texas roller coaster incident; early voting starts today; and more:

Laura Buckman / The Texas Tribune

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis says she supports gay marriage. She also called on her opponent Attorney General Greg Abbott to stop defending the definition of marriage in the Texas constitution as only between one man and one woman. 

The battle over the border is escalating between Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Greg Abbott and the likely Democratic nominee Wendy Davis. It began last week when Abbott likened public corruption in South Texas to “third-world country practices” while unveiling his border security plan while in Dallas. Davis calls Abbott's comment "divisive" and says it's harmful to economic development along the border. Abbott may say more on the subject when he makes a campaign appearance in El Paso today.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Greg Abbott, the Republican attorney general and candidate for governor, stopped in Dallas Tuesday to unveil a $300 million border security plan that would also target domestic violence and sex crimes.

Speaking to a Dallas nonprofit that helps victims of child sex trafficking, Abbott argued that the federal government has failed to secure the Texas border.

“Powerful and ruthless international cartels and violent transnational gangs are operating within our state,” Abbott said. “Even within our prison system. And narco-related cross-border crime is on the rise.” 

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

The campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis has released letters from her two adult daughters who say they want to correct “untrue things” and “ludicrous comments” about their mother.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

James O’Keefe is at it again. The controversial conservative activist has focused his hidden camera on Battleground Texas – the Democratic operation trying to turn Texas blue.

His Project Veritas operation released a video this week showing a Battleground Texas worker laughing and talking about Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor, being in a wheelchair.

Fort Worth Democrat Wendy Davis announced Tuesday she raised $12.2 million in the last half of 2013 for her governor's campaign. Republican Greg Abbott reported raising $11.5 million in the same time period but says he has a total of $27 million on hand to wage his campaign. Political analysts say each candidate will need close to $40 million to be competitive if they become their parties' nominees as expected. Davis, who entered the race in October, currently has about half as much money her her campaign account as Abbott. But she's demonstrated an ability to keep pace with his fundraising in the past six months.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis outlined a plan Thursday for attracting more top students to teaching and for improving the pay of those already in the classroom.

Texas Republicans can't get hold of enough guns.

Greg Abbott, the party's front-runner for governor, posed for a recent cover of Texas Monthly with a rifle over his shoulder. Nearly every other GOP statewide candidate has put out pictures or videos proudly displaying firearms.

Tea party activists have been gunning for Sen. John Cornyn. But even they were surprised when Steve Stockman, a Republican Congressman from the Houston suburb of Friendswood, filed on the last possible day to run against Cornyn in the March Republican primary. 

Former Texas Republican Party Chair Tom Pauken is ending his campaign for governor saying he can no longer ask supporters and conservatives for help when there is "no realistic path to victory."

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Attorney General Greg Abbott, the leading Republican candidate for governor, was in Plano Tuesday to focus on schools.  It was the first of his statewide visits before finalizing his education policy. His likely Democratic opponent, Wendy Davis, wasn’t there, but she was still part of the discussion.

Shutterstock

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says criticism surrounding the state's first election under a new voter ID mandate is "overhyped" and being driven by partisans.
 
Abbott told The Associated Press on Monday that requiring some voters to sign affidavits was proven to be "no big deal" during early voting.

Attorney General Greg Abbott, the leading candidate for the Republican nomination for Texas governor, holds a single-digit lead over the likely Democratic nominee, state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

In a head-to-head race, Abbott got 40 percent of registered voters to Davis’ 34 percent, with 25 percent of the voters undecided. In a three-way general election, he would get 40 percent, Davis would get 35 percent and Libertarian Kathie Glass would get 5 percent.

“What you’ve got is a race in which, for the first time in a long time, the Democrat is as well-known as the Republican at the outset of the race,” said poll co-director Daron Shaw, a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin.

A leading Democratic candidate for Wendy Davis’ Senate seat has indicated he will not be running in 2014, leaving the party with a smaller margin of error in the Texas Senate.

Some in the Texas Democratic Party believed Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns would be the person to take over in Davis’ district because he has bipartisan support, but this week Burns announced he would not be running in 2014.

State Sen. Wendy Davis isn't the only governor's candidate who needs an affidavit to vote in the Nov. 5 election.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott will need one, too, Matt Hirsch, his campaign spokesman, told the San Antonio Express-News.

The newspaper reports that Abbott has a different name on his driver's license than what's on the voter rolls. Davis faced a similar issue on Monday when she voted early in Fort Worth.

Shutterstock

Update, 7:52 p.m. Monday: A federal judge has ruled that new abortion restrictions passed by the Texas Legislature are unconstitutional and should not take effect as planned on Tuesday. Texas officials immediately appealed the ruling, and the case could eventually head to the U.S. Supreme Court.

District Judge Lee Yeakel blocked one part of the restriction, while allowing another provision to stand.

Yeakel ruled that a state provision that requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility "places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus."

PolitiFact.com

On the day that state Sen. Wendy Davis announced her candidacy for governor, Texas Right To Life released an ad claiming that Davis, a Fort Worth Democrat, "opposes any limits on abortion." 

PolitiFact Texas researched the claim and rated it "false."   Here's the analysis.  

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

In Dallas on Monday, Attorney General Greg Abbott defended a new state abortion law being challenged in federal court this week.

Attorney General Greg Abbott, a GOP candidate for governor, is tweeting his approval of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to hear Texas' arguments against EPA rules for regulating greenhouse gases.

Texas Tribune

Media coverage of the race for governor has focused on a likely battle between Democrat Wendy Davis and Republican Greg Abbott.  But another Republican, Former State GOP Party Chair Tom Pauken, says Abbott’s reluctance to answer questions gives him an opportunity to be heard. 

KERA’s Shelley Kofler talked with Pauken, 59, about his primary opponent, education and his uphill campaign.

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