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The Brief: Aug. 14, 2014

Sexual assault has emerged as a potentially potent new issue in the governor's race.

Greg Abbott, then a candidate for governor and now the governor-elect, spoke at a NE Tarrant Tea Party meeting at Concordia Lutheran Church in Bedford on Nov. 12, 2013. State Sen. Wendy Davis, who was also running for governor, spoke to veterans at Luby's in Forest Hill the day before.

The Big Conversation

Sexual assault has emerged as a potentially potent new issue in the governor's race.

The first salvo came last week, when state Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee, released an aggressive TV ad attacking her Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, over an opinion he issued while on the state Supreme Court in a case involving a Texas woman who was raped by a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman in 1993. The Abbott campaign called the ad "despicable."

Now, as the San Antonio Express-NewsPeggy Fikac reports, the Davis campaign is going after Abbott again on a similar issue: his failure to follow through on specific proposals he made while running for attorney general in 2002 that would have helped fight sexual assault. 

An Abbott spokeswoman told the Express-News that Abbott had instead found "much more powerful and profound ways to attack the problem by deploying his own army of programs and solutions," like awarding millions of dollars to sexual assault groups and fighting human trafficking. 

A Davis spokesman said Abbott was "paying lip service to sexual assault victims during campaign season."

Team Davis responded similarly to new Dallas Morning News findings showing that Abbott, while on the Supreme Court, ruled against three other women who filed sexual assault suits, as Christy Hoppe reports.

Abbott has shown "a consistent pattern of ruling against Texans who need him and for his old insider network," the Davis camp said, according to the Morning News

The Abbott campaign said he ruled fairly while on the court. "The role of a judge is not to create laws, but rather to rule based on existing law, which is exactly what Greg Abbott did in every case that came before him," a spokeswoman said.

The Day Ahead

•    The Senate Government Organization Committee will meet at 8 a.m. today to review state agency training and state contracting procedures.

•     The Senate Health and Human Services Committee will meet at 11 a.m. to take up two charges related to Medicaid, the state dental board and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

Trib Must-Reads

In Abortion Trial, Judge Questions Definition of "Undue Burden", by Alexa Ura

Perry Visits Guard Troops Training for the Border, by Eli Okun

Commission Formally Recommends Closure of Some State Institutions, by Edgar Walters

Rio Grande Valley Mayor Welcomes National Guard, by Julián Aguilar

Railroad Commission Hopefuls Scrutinize Disposal Well Proposal, by Jim Malewitz

A&M Not Troubled by Lawmakers' Recommendation Letters, by Reeve Hamilton

Feds Won't Watch Out for Blind Spider, by Gilad Edelman

And on this week's TribCast: a vote for censure and alcohol at gun shows


Anti-abortion activists adopt a new tactic: tracking license platesHouston Chronicle

On Immigration, G.O.P. Starts to Embrace Tea PartyThe New York Times

Why Can't the United States Build a High-Speed Rail System?, City Lab

Julián and Erica Castro expecting a boy in DecemberSan Antonio Express-News

Quote to Note

"Would we stand for that if you had a sprained ankle or needed an appendectomy? I don’t believe we would stand for this for any other medical procedure."

— U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, offering some insight into how he may rule in the latest case challenging Texas' new abortion regulations

Today in TribTalk

Immigrants deserve better than Obama, by Ted Cruz

What's next for Washington on the border crisis, by Henry Cuellar

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    Health Care: What's Next?: Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith will lead a discussion with two of the Legislature's most respected thinkers on health care, state Reps. Garnet Coleman and John Zerwas, on Aug. 18 in Richardson. The event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required. 

•    The Texas Tribune Festival runs from Sept. 19-21 at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Politics Greg Abbott Wendy Davis