Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott didn’t utter Wendy Davis’ name.
But the Republican gubernatorial candidate came to Davis’ hometown Friday to rally thousands of Republicans gathered here for their state convention to help him spread the word that he offers Texans a much better future than his chief foe.
Abbott had some high-powered help stirring up delegates from two of the national GOP’s most fiery speakers: U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Before the convention wraps up today, delegates will adopt a party platform which may include some controversial measures ranging from stances on immigration to homosexuality. Results of the 2016 Presidential Straw Poll will be released as well.
“Her prescription for Texas is more government. My prescription? More freedom,” Abbott said during the second day of the Republican Party’s state convention. “You deserve a governor who will fight for freedom, for our future, for real Texas values.”
The battle to become Texas’ next governor has raged between Abbott and Davis, a Fort Worth senator, for months, even though the two were just formally chosen in March by their parties as the top candidates.
Abbott called on the GOP faithful to help him retain a decades old record of Republican leadership.
“It has been twenty years since a Democrat won a statewide election in Texas and … we are not going to let that record be broken this year,” he said.
He said Davis supports abortion rights but not Second Amendment rights.
And she, in general, is wrong for Texas, he said.
“She stood for 13 hours to advocate abortion, even after five months,” he said. “Of all things, she then said she was pro-life because she wants every child to have a better chance in life. But for a child to have a chance in life, a child must first have a chance at life.”
He said Texans must move forward together to do the right thing for the state — and elect him.
“If every day you can knock on just one more door, make just one more call, send just one more email, take just one more person to the polls, then we will do more than win just one more election,” Abbott said. “We will win the next generation.”
A statement by #RIPGOP, a Texas Democratic Party effort to fend off Republican comments about Democratic candidates, criticized Abbott.
“Whether it’s protecting payday lenders or providing his donors with easy access to taxpayer-funded cancer grants, Abbott’s choices come at the expense of hardworking Texans,” according to the statement. “Greg Abbott’s record is clear: it’s about insiders and cronyism.
“Greg Abbott is not working for Texas families. We can’t let his business as usual politics persist.”
Friday was Abbott’s day, marked by standing ovations and machines shooting red, white and blue confetti into the air after his speech was finished.
Even so, two other Texas Republicans rallied the crowd as not seen before in this convention.
Cruz, long described as the GOP’s “rock star” from Texas, first got delegates to their feet — and kept them there for much of his speech — as he called on Texans to help make a difference in the country.
He warned delegates that Americans’ freedom is under assault like never before.
And he repeated a call for change that he has pitched for months, which includes auditing the Federal Reserve, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service and a “repeal [of] every blessed word of Obamacare.”
He asked Texans to help him and text his campaign to participate in the effort.
“What we’re doing is building a grassroots army … of men and women who will say they will not go quietly into the night,” he said. “We want our freedom back.”
He drew several raucous standing ovations, especially when he repeated a quip he has used in earlier speeches that in Texas, gun control “means hittin’ what you aim at.”
Paul, son of former U.S. Rep. and former presidential candidate Ron Paul, drew another enthusiastic response, especially when he criticized Democrats who say it’s time to make a move and aggressively try to turn Texas blue.
He offered up a few things he would like to see change in Washington, D.C.:
“Why don’t we be the party that says, you know what, why don’t we read the bills before we pass them? I know that’s pretty radical,” he said.
He mentioned a bill he has that he’d like to see become law. It would require Congress to wait 20 days for every page of legislation. “This is sort of a double whammy,” he said. “You’ll have shorter bills and a waiting period.”
He said there should be term limits, as well as a rule that prevents Congress from passing any law from which they are exempted.
Keeping it red
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, Texas’ senior senator, talked to the crowd, calling out Battleground Texas’ plan to turn Texas blue.
“My response, our response, is: not on our watch,” he said. “If there must remain one last bastion of freedom, one last haven of opportunity, … let it be Texas.”
He said he does hope that President Obama and Battleground Texas are tuning in to the Republican state convention.
“I have a prediction,” he said. “Not only will [Democrats] lose and lose big in Texas, but we are going to dispatch the Obama dream team back to Chicago.”
Glenn Hegar, the GOP nominee for Texas comptroller, and Ken Paxton, the GOP nominee for Texas attorney general, spoke Friday morning as well.