Davis criticizes Abbott pay raises; GOP launches effort for women voters

Abbott and Davis

Credit: WFAA

Davis criticizes Abbott pay raises; GOP launches effort for women voters



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Posted on March 12, 2014 at 9:59 PM

DALLAS — State Sen. Wendy Davis pushed equal pay for a third day on Wednesday in a continuing effort she hopes rallies women to her side.

The Democratic gubernatorial candidate appeared outside Houston City Hall, where she criticized Republican opponent Greg Abbott for accepting a 62 percent pay raise since taking office and then arguing against equal pay in a case as the state's attorney general.

"The point here is that it's hypocritical for Gen. Abbott to take pay raises and then argue in court that hardworking Texans don't deserve pay for that hard work," Davis told reporters.

The attorney general does not set his own salary; legislators do, as part of the overall budget appropriations bill. Abbott got the raises in 2005 and 2007. Davis was elected to the Senate in 2008.

Still, the equal pay issue began Sunday on WFAA's Inside Texas Politics. Abbott told News 8 that existing law sufficiently protects women, and suggested no need for Texas to pass its own equal pay act.

He would not directly say whether he would veto such a bill, as Gov. Rick Perry did last year.

As Davis criticized Abbott for dodging WFAA’s question, she did the same thing by failing to directly answer whether Abbott should have rejected his salary hikes... or whether she would, if elected governor.

"Education is not enough of a winning issue on its own,” said Bud Kennedy, Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist. “They have to bring up issues that attract women who might not agree with Wendy Davis about pro-choice issues."

Abbott is now questioning Davis' ethics. His campaign says it’s a conflict of interest that Davis still represents public agencies while running for governor — especially after reportedly saying she would suspend her law practice during her campaign.

In the middle of it all, Republicans unveiled a new effort to attract female voters, a political action committee called RedState Women.

It’s designed to highlight Republican women in state politics. A short video with Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick appears on the site.

"They don't want Wendy to gain any headway among younger women," Kennedy said. "I think the Republicans see now that a lot of their potential vote comes from millennials. If it just looks like a bunch of old guys on the ticket, then what is there for a 30 to 35-year-old moderate independent woman to vote for in the fall?"

Those are the women apparently running RedStateWomen, according to its website. The Davis campaign brushed off the PAC and said it’s evidence that Republicans are panicking over women voters.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com