Davis, Shelton face off in Tarrant County state senate debate, airing Sunday




Posted on October 12, 2012 at 7:08 PM

FORT WORTH -- The fierce state senate race in Tarrant County didn't calm down when the candidates sat down for Inside Texas Politics.

Incumbent Democratic Senator Wendy Davis' and Republican challenger State Representative Mark Shelton's differences start with the state budget, passed by the Republican majority in 2011.

Shelton was for it.

"I voted for a balanced budget without raising taxes," he said.

But with deep cuts to schools, Davis voted against the budget.

"Families across Texas [are] saying 'We don't want you to cut five-and-a-half billion dollars from our public schools,'" she said.

Davis and Shelton will debate on Inside Texas Politics this Sunday at 9 a.m. on Channel 8

Some of the sharpest contrasts between them show up in separate attacks each air in TV commercials.

Shelton claims Davis, who's an attorney, has a ethics problem because she represents local governments, like NTTA, that have dealings with the state.

"If someone has contracts with many local government entities, whether that be the NTTA or others, I think that's a conflict," said Shelton, a pediatrician.

Davis responded, "Mark is not being honest about my record. He can't point to a single vote I've taken that has been against the interests of the people that I represent."

Davis smacked Shelton for opposing a bill requiring police agencies to report their backlog of untested rape kits. She said he was one of eight people in the legislature who voted not to advance testing of rape kits.

"I support the rape kits, but where we differ is on the funding," Shelton responded. "There was not stable funding of the rape kits."

Regardless, Davis' rape kit bill passed, and Governor Rick Perry signed it.

It's a sign this race will see more disagreements ahead.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com