The Brief: Abbott Wants to Turn Page on Trailergate

Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott talked about border security, criminal justice and other issues during his "Securing Texans" address in Dallas on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2014.
Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott talked about border security, criminal justice and other issues during his "Securing Texans" address in Dallas on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2014.

The Big Conversation

Add Greg Abbott, apparently, to those wanting to turn the page on coverage of Wendy Davis' life story.

The Dallas Morning News' Gromer Jeffers Jr. reported Abbott on Tuesday as saying, “It’s time to move beyond all this. ... It’s time to do exactly what I’m doing today, and that is focusing on the issues that matter most to Texans.” He also denied a connection to the piece by The NewsWayne Slater on discrepancies in Davis' campaign bio that created the current controversy.

If he didn't have a role in the story's creation, Abbott certainly became involved in the aftermath. Jeffers points out a statement from an Abbott spokesman from the day after the Jan. 19 article saying that Davis “systematically, intentionally and repeatedly deceived Texans for years about her background, yet she expects voters to indulge her fanciful narrative.” The Davis camp, meanwhile, hasn't stopped describing the flap as an Abbott attack. And the leader of the Lone Star Project, a Democratic group, has said he expects Abbott to continue referring to the controversy in the future.

The Day Ahead

•    As part of its annual conference at the Sheraton Austin Hotel on 11th Street, the Texas Association of Business will host a pair of forums featuring GOP candidates for attorney general and comptroller. Announced participants in the AG forum are Barry Smitherman and Dan Branch. Announced participants in the comptroller forum are Debra Medina, Glenn Hegar and Harvey Hilderbran.

•    The U.S. House Committee on Science Space and Technology will hold a 9 a.m. hearing titled "Examining the Science of EPA Overreach: A Case Study in Texas." The witness list includes TCEQ Chairman Bryan Shaw, Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter and Kenneth Dierschke, president of the Texas Farm Bureau.

 

Today in the Trib

New Degree Available For Around $10K, Books Included: "After about a year and a half of development, Texas A&M University-Commerce and South Texas College in late January unveiled a new, innovative response to Gov. Rick Perry's $10,000-college-degree challenge."

New Farm Bill Spells Big Changes For Texas Ag: "After years of political fighting, Congress has passed a farm bill that will bring certainty to agricultural and food assistance policy until 2018. Texas agricultural producers could see big changes."

DNA Hearing Brings Skinner Case Closer to Resolution: "During a two-day DNA hearing, prosecutors argued tests confirmed Hank Skinner’s guilt in a 20-year-old triple murder, but his lawyers said the results raised too many questions to allow him to be executed."

Six-Figure Donations Help Fuel Abbott's January Total: "Fundraising reports for the month of January show Greg Abbott largely outraising Wendy Davis with the help of several six-figure contributions, while Davis relied on smaller donations."

Abbott Touts $300 Million Border Security Proposal: "Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor, has proposed a dramatic increase in state spending on border security and other crime-fighting initiatives. But he hasn't identified the funding to pay for the programs."

Must-Read

Bud Kennedy: Stickland sets off feeding frenzy by posting opposing voter’s address, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Abbott eyes 500 more border troops, Houston Chronicle

Greg Abbott in tussle over ‘sexting’ ruling, Austin American-Statesman

 

Staples, Patrick each unload more than $2 million on TV, The Dallas Morning News

Lawmakers on both sides demand changes to NSA rules, Houston Chronicle

Bexar offers benefits to county employees' partners, San Antonio Express-News

The Six Most Overrated Races of 2014, Politico

Quote to Note

“It’s very safe to say Texas has just become a major player in the 2016 primaries.”

— Texas Republican Party Chairman Steve Munisteri on the impact of the national party's efforts to shorten the presidential nominating process

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, candidate for lieutenant governor, at the Austin Club, 2/6

•    Sen. Kel Seliger and Reps. John Smithee and Four Price at West Texas A&M in Canyon, 2/7

•    Reps. Joe Deshotel, Allan Ritter and James White at Lamar University in Beaumont, 2/19

•    Texas Tribune Festival On the Road at The University of Texas El Paso for a daylong symposium on demographic change, 2/27

•    Live Post-Primary Election TribCast at the Austin Club, 3/5

•    Save the date for the 2014 Texas Tribune Festival: 9/19-9/21

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