And Abbott has always been about paying women less than men for the same job:Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott would have vetoed the equal-pay measure sponsored by his Democratic opponent for governor, state Sen. Wendy Davis, his campaign said Wednesday.
Abbott's answer meets a key Davis campaign issue head on and puts the candidates squarely on opposite sides of it.
The development comes as Abbott faces renewed attention over differences in salaries paid to men and women assistant attorneys general at his agency, which were reported Wednesday by the San Antonio Express-News.
Davis has been pressing Abbott to say whether he would have vetoed the state version of the federal Lilly Ledbetter law if he were governor, just as GOP Gov. Rick Perry did last year. - My San Antonio, 3/19/14
And Abbott has really been shooting himself in the foot:The San Antonio Express-News reported on Wednesday that Abbott's office has been paying its female assistant attorneys general less, on average, than men in the same position. The average salary for the 343 male assistant attorneys general in Abbott's office is $79,464, while the average salary for the 379 women is $73,649, according to salary information Abbott's office provided to the San Antonio Express-News.
Overall, male employees earn an average of $60,200 a year in Abbott's office, while women make $44,708. The San Antonio Express-News noted those averages don't take into account different job classifications.
Abbott's office said the difference can be explained by the fact that his male assistant attorneys general had generally been licensed longer than the women and had more months of service. They pointed out that nearly 40 percent of executive-level employees there are women.
Still, the numbers are likely to hurt Abbott in his campaign for governor as he continues to dodge the question of whether he would have vetoed the same equal pay legislation passed by the Texas Legislature that Gov. Rick Perry (R) vetoed. The bill, sponsored by his Democratic opponent, State Sen. Wendy Davis (D), was similar to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier for women to sue their employers when they realize they're being paid less than their male colleagues for the same work.
The Davis campaign has also pointed out that during his career as Texas attorney general, Abbott successfully defended the state of Texas against a female college professor who was being paid less than her colleagues for the same work. - Huffington Post, 3/19/14
And Texas Republicans and Red State Women PAC really aren't helping Abbott's case either:For more than a decade, Texas Republicans have done better than Democrats among women voters. But that appeal has gone like a bad dance in the past two weeks, with a lot of toe-stomping.
Recognizing that Democrat Wendy Davis might have some appeal to female voters, Republican Greg Abbott and his supporters have worked to highlight GOP answers of jobs and opportunity for women. But like a bumbler who spills the red wine on his date’s new dress after the foot-injuring dance, it hasn’t gone well.
It’s gotten so muddled that the Abbott campaign is fighting back by calling Davis hypocritical because her law firm represents the Tarrant Regional Water District as bond counsel. And that water district, using a different law firm, fought a suit in 2010 brought by a woman alleging unfair pay practices.
Adding to the dotted-line muddle is that the water district won the suit by using the same legal argument employed by Abbott’s Attorney General’s Office in a different lawsuit. That argument is that the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act doesn’t apply to Texas law.
“Sen. Wendy Davis has now mastered the Texas two-step as she continues to launch attacks over equal pay while shielding her own record of defending gender discrimination,” Abbott spokesman Matt Hirsch stated. - Dallas Morning News, 3/19/14
And Abbott really doesn't want to talk about this issue anymore:
Cari Christman, executive director of the group, was recently asked about equal pay legislation, an issue that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis has been trying to use as a rally women in the campaign.
In Texas, according to a new report, men make $44,802 and women make $35,453 or 79 cents on the dollar.
Christman says that women are too busy to focus on equal pay and that Davis should instead focus on creating jobs and access to education.
And Beth Cubriel, the executive director of the Texas Republican Party, had this advice for women, when it comes to closing the pay gap. In Texas, according to a new report, men make $44,802 and women make $35,453 or 79 cents on the dollar.
“Men are better negotiators,” said Cubriel said on YNN’s “Capital Tonight,” when asked about equal pay legislation. “I would encourage women, instead of pursuing the courts for action, to become better negotiators.” - Washington Post, 3/18/14
Abbott and the Texas GOP are now shitting in their pants because Davis is starting to catch up to him in the polls:
Abbott ducked and dodged the real issue of why Republican Governor Rick Perry did Texas businesses a huge favor by vetoing the state legislation based on the federal Lilly Ledbetter Act, which would allow a woman who discovers a pay inequity to seek remedy. Currently, if a woman discovers a discriminatory paycheck more than 180 days after her first paycheck was issued, she cannot file suit.
Republicans move this goal post from the rights granted in Lilly Ledbetter to general support for equal pay as an idea, so that they can say things that sound great until you look under the hood and realize this person just blew off the entire issue.
When Abbott’s personal anecdotes failed to impress, Texas Republicans then deployed several female Republicans to mansplain to the people why women don’t need equal pay protection. They are “too busy” for that, according to the female Executive Director of the Texas GOP Women’s PAC. And when that fell flat, they sent out another female, an Abbott ally who is also the Executive Director of the Texas Republican Party, to explain that women are just bad negotiators and they better buck up.
Sadly for the Republican campaign, it turned out that women don’t enjoy being patronized so much.
With the furor rising and pundits saying that this whole equal pay thing was actually catching fire, and Abbott was losing ground in polls, Abbott campaign spokesman Matt Hirsch tried to clear things up, “Greg Abbott supports equal pay, and he supports Texas and federal law that provides legal avenues for victims of discrimination.” Here comes the part where they pretend they don’t understand Lilly Ledbetter, “The Texas Constitution and both state and federal law guarantee a woman’s right to equal pay in Texas. Equal pay is the law in Texas, and as governor, Greg Abbott will continue to ensure it’s enforced.” - Politicus USA, 3/19/14
And Davis isn't just focusing on female voters, she's focusing on another key demographic that could help her pull off an upset victory:Gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is within single digits of her Republican opponent in the Texas race for governor.
State Sen. Davis closed the gap to seven points in the first statewide poll since the Democratic gubernatorial primary earlier this month, according to results published this week by the Emerson College Polling Society. With a 42% favorability rating among residents, Davis could be within striking range of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who earned 49% support in the poll.
The survey was conducted among Texas residents between March 7 and 12.
Davis, who won the Lone Star State’s Democratic primary for governor earlier this month against challenger Ray Madrigal, became a rising star in her party after she staged a 12-hour filibuster last June to protest restrictive abortion legislation. She raised $12.2 million in the last six months of 2013, a million dollars more than Abbott in the race for governor. - MSNBC, 3/18/14
Davis is working hard to push the Lone Star State in the purple category:Both Senator Wendy Davis and Attorney General Greg Abbott are both taking steps to target Hispanics. It’s a group, which both candidates said are vital for November’s race.
Wendy Davis launched her Spanish language website and twitter page Monday in a move to reach out to Hispanics. Historically, the Democratic party has done a better job attracting their votes. But this year, Davis may have to play “catch up.”
A Spanish language campaign can reach voters who are often overlooked, for example.
Commissioner for Dallas County District 4, Dr. Elba Garcia said she has seen the powerful effect it can have.
“I know I always say a few phrases in Spanish and people react different,” said Dr. Garcia.
Republicans are taking the lead attracting the Hispanic vote in the governor’s race this year.
“Good for Senator Davis for going out and reaching out to Hispanics, but she’s late. We’ve been doing this for two years,” said Republican State Representative Jason Villalba of Dallas.
Gregg Abbott’s campaign started tweeting in Spanish in May 2012 and he launched his Spanish website in January. What some may consider Abbott’s most powerful asset, though, is his Hispanic wife named Cecilia.”Of course, he’s going to be shaped by her opinions and her concerns and her issues,” according to Villalba.
She’s granddaughter of Mexican immigrants and has joined him on the campaign trail.
“Welcome to election year. Everyone’s gonna tout whatever best asset they have and he has a Latino wife. Hey why not?,” said Garcia.
Davis, on the other hand, has a Hispanic running mate named Leticia Van De Putte, the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor. - CBS DFW, 3/17/14
And here's another reason why I'm optimistic about Davis' chances:The new poll shows that 17 percent of independent voters in Texas are still undecided. Given the historic, unchallenged dominance of Republicans in the state, that 17 percent of independents are undecided speaks to the potential of the Davis campaign and the purple future of Texas. Under conventional Texas political circumstances, this race would already be sealed up for the Republican. The large swath of undecided voters and the narrowing of polling margins generally hints at the potential not only for Davis to win but for Texas to finally, thankfully shift from deep red to bright purple on the national political landscape. The whole notion of turning Texas purple isn’t based on political centrism but demographic polarization—as Texas becomes younger and more Latino, it’s becoming more liberal. Increasingly, to win office in Texas and across America, Democrats don’t have to ape some form of ideologically bland Clinton centrism but, in fact, be extra-liberal to play to the social progressivism and economic populism of the future of the American electorate.
I’m not saying Texas is 100 percent there yet, but I am saying that it’s headed in that direction—and Davis’ path to victory appears to hinge on bridging that transition, bringing along enough of the center-left working class white male vote while maintaining strong support among women and young people and the future of Texas politics. That her candidacy is faring as well as it is already is a sign of the bright purple Texas to come. - The Daily Beast, 3/18/14
Reid and Nevada Democrats know damn well how important Latino voter turnout is, just look at Reid's 2010 re-election campaign for proof. Having a seasoned expert on your staff will be very beneficial. Yes, it's still early but we can still win this race. So lets help Davis pull off the biggest upset victory this year by getting involved and/or donating to her campaign:Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis has hired Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) former communications director to help run her campaign, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Zac Petkanas, Reid's former aide, most recently served as senior communications adviser for the Nevada State Democratic Party. He will replace Bo Delp as communications director for Davis' campaign. and Delp will now serve as deputy communications director.
"This is one of the most exciting and important races in the country, and what we’re going to be doing is showing voters a very clear contrast between Wendy Davis’ vision for the future of Texas and Greg Abbott’s commitment to business as usual," Petkanas said Tuesday. - Huffington Post, 3/12/14