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The Brief: March 19, 2014

The widely panned attempt by two Greg Abbott surrogates to push a GOP alternative to legislation to address the pay gap between men and women has brought outreach to female voters back into the spotlight in the contest for governor.

Gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis are shown on primary night on March 4, 2014.

The Big Conversation

The widely panned attempt by two Greg Abbott surrogates to push a GOP alternative to legislation to address the pay gap between men and women has brought outreach to female voters back into the spotlight in the contest for governor.

The Texas Observer's Christopher Hooks reported Tuesday on the names behind the recently launched RedState Women PAC, which launched last week to no small degree of fanfare. Hooks focuses on the bios of the major principals of the group and concludes they are "not the dream team you might have assembled for a Texas women’s advocacy group."

The Dallas Morning News' Wayne Slater also delves into the names associated with RedState Women PAC and finds Texas GOP power players Mike Toomey and Dave Carney are separated by "about two degrees" from the new group. "Red State’s president is Lara Keel, a long-time lobby partner of Mike Toomey in one of Austin’s premier political-influence firms. And the beneficiary? Republican gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott, whose political consultant is … Dave Carney," Slater writes.

Meanwhile, National Journal's Alex Roarty reports that Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is disputing the idea that the GOP has a general lack of support from female voters. "There's a little bit of a laziness on the part of the people who want to claim the Republican Party has some kind of women problem," Priebus said at the Christian Science Monitor Breakfast, as reported by Roarty. "We basically have a single women problem under 35 issue."

"The chairman's remarks carry some validity: Among some female voters, the party did well. Mitt Romney [won] 56 percent of all white women, according to exit polls, and 53 percent of married women of all races," Roarty added. "But Romney still only carried 44 percent of the total female vote, in large part because of the party's deep struggles with minority women."

The Day Ahead

•    Rally for state Senate candidate Konni Burton, featuring U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz at the Stockyards Station in Fort Worth at 6 p.m.

•    The Lower Colorado River Authority's board of directors meets at 8:30 a.m. at the agency's Hancock Building on Lake Austin Boulevard.

Today in the Trib

Davis, Abbott Supporters Lob Attacks Via Social Media: "Look no further than the 2014 Texas gubernatorial race to see just how vile people can be in their comments on social media about the candidates. And it's only March."

Interactive: The Impact of HB 2 on Abortion Facilities: "Use this interactive map to see how the number of abortion facilities in Texas has changed with new regulations, and where facilities will remain open when more regulations take effect this fall."


Lawmaker laments GOP 'alienation' of Latinos, San Antonio Express-News

Ted Cruz talks religious liberty with Iowa home-schoolers, demurs on 2016 plans, The Dallas Morning News

George P. Bush to fundraise with Rubio, The Hill

A Campaign Inquiry in Utah Is the Watchdogs’ Worst Case, The New York Times

Perry denounces plans to cut Houston Guard brigade HQ, Houston Chronicle

GOP may raise cost of hosting convention by $18 million, The Dallas Morning News

Hidalgo County Commissioners call special meeting to probe voting irregularities in primary, McAllen Monitor

Quote to Note

"Men are better negotiators. I would encourage women, instead of pursuing the courts for action, to become better negotiators."

— Republican Party of Texas Executive Director Beth Cubriel, telling Austin cable news channel YNN there are options for closing the pay gap between men and women other than legislation like a Texas version of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

News From Home

•    The Texas Tribune is participating in Amplify Austin! The 24-hour Central Texas giving festival begins at 6 p.m. on March 20 and ends at 6 p.m. on March 21Preschedule your gift of $25 (or more) to the Tribune today and have it count to Amplify Austin.

When you give to the Tribune, you're making Texas a better place to live and work, and helping the Tribune compete for big booster prizes. Let's Amplify Texas!

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With Kinky Friedman, Candidate for Ag Commissioner at the Austin Club, 3/20

•    The Amplify Texas Happy Hour at The Brew Exchange, 706 W. Sixth St., Austin, 3/20

•    A Conversation With Sen. Charles Schwertner and Reps. John Raney and Kyle Kacal at Texas A&M University in College Station, 3/27

•    A Conversation With Mike Collier, Candidate for State Comptroller at the Austin Club, 4/17

•    A Conversation with U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway at Midland College in Midland, 5/13

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

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Explore related story topics

Health care Politics George P. Bush Greg Abbott Rick Perry Ted Cruz Wendy Davis