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Davis, Abbott duking it out in new campaign ads

Posted Thursday, Aug. 07, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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State Sen. Wendy Davis is out with a blistering TV attack ad in the Texas governor’s race, criticizing a vote Attorney General Greg Abbott made on the Texas Supreme Court and featuring the story of a woman who was raped in 1993 by a door-to-door salesman.

Davis announced the airing of the ad, which her campaign called a “significant buy … in multiple media markets,” several hours after Attorney General Greg Abbott announced the launch of what his campaign called the biggest statewide buy of the race.

The Davis ad tells the story of a woman who, according to an Associated Press story, was raped in Seguin by a vacuum cleaner salesman. She sued Kirby Co. and the case went to the Supreme Court on appeal.

In a 6-3 vote, the court held the company liable, saying it should have required that a background check be performed on the salesman, who had a previous history of sexual indecency. Abbott, then a Texas Supreme Court justice, wrote the dissenting opinion, arguing that Kirby did not exert control over the independent subcontractors who sold the vacuum cleaners.

In a statement, Abbott campaign spokeswoman Amelia Chasse called the ad "gutter politics" and from a candidate without substance.

"In the case referenced in Sen. Davis’ despicable ad, Greg Abbott’s decision left intact the liability against the sex offender and his employer," Chasse said. "No amount of desperate distortion attempts or token ad buys by Sen. Davis can change the facts of Greg Abbott’s record of fighting for Texans."

Both campaigns claimed to have been first with the media buy, saying their opponent rushed to air a competing ad.

Davis spokesman Zac Petkanas said Team Abbott was “100 percent reacting to this campaign” by announcing earlier Thursday that it was airing a TV ad.

“The Abbott campaign is clearly scrambling,” Petkanas said. He said the ad provided “the latest example of how he fights for insiders at the expense of hard-working Texans.”

Abbott spokesman Matt Hirsch said the Davis campaign was reacting to the Abbott buy.

“They put their ad out at 8 o’clock at night. We put ours out at 3 p.m.,” he said. “The facts are the facts. Why wouldn’t they put it out if they had it earlier?”

In a 6-3 vote, the court held the company liable, saying it should have required that a background check be performed on the salesman, who had a previous history of sexual indecency. Abbott, then a Texas Supreme Court justice, wrote the dissenting opinion, arguing that Kirby did not exert control over the independent subcontractors who sold the vacuum cleaners.

In a statement, Abbott campaign spokeswoman Amelia Chasse called the ad "gutter politics" and from a candidate without substance.

"In the case referenced in Sen. Davis’ despicable ad, Greg Abbott’s decision left intact the liability against the sex offender and his employer," Chasse said. "No amount of desperate distortion attempts or token ad buys by Sen. Davis can change the facts of Greg Abbott’s record of fighting for Texans."

Who was first?

Both campaigns claimed to have been first with the media buy, saying their opponent rushed to air a competing ad.

Davis spokesman Zac Petkanas said Team Abbott was “100 percent reacting to this campaign” by announcing earlier Thursday that it was airing a TV ad.

“The Abbott campaign is clearly trembling,” Petkanas said. He said the ad provided “the latest example of how he fights for insiders at the expense of hard-working Texans.”

Davis spokesman Matt Hirsch said the Davis campaign was reacting to the Abbott buy.

“They put their ad out at 8 o’clock at night. We put ours out at 3 p.m.,” he said. “The facts are the facts. Why wouldn’t they put it out if they had it earlier?”

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