McALLEN — Having a little pre-debate fun at their opponents' expense, supporters of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis staged a fake welcome rally Friday to mark the arrival of Republican Greg Abbott’s out-of-town volunteers.
Davis spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña and a handful of Davis supporters carried snow cones — known here as raspas — to Abbott supporters after they arrived at their downtown hotel ahead of Friday’s televised debate and several weekend campaign events.
“We’re trying to show that South Texas, despite Greg Abbott’s hostile remarks, is a wonderful community,” Acuña said. “We just want to say welcome to South Texas with some raspas.”
Three of the snow cones were handed to the Abbott supporters at a downtown hotel. They briefly exchanged greetings with their Democratic rivals and then walked off.
Abbott’s campaign for governor has brought in supporters from San Antonio and Austin to support the attorney general’s campaign efforts in the predominantly Hispanic region.
Davis’ campaign says the help from people outside the Rio Grande Valley demonstrates a lack of support from the region, and is pointing to his comments this year when he spoke of corruption in the border counties and said it “resembles third-world country practices.”
Abbott said later that his warning about corruption applied not only to the border region but to anywhere it occurs.
Abbott campaign spokeswoman Amelia Chasse said the use of out-of-town volunteers doesn't demonstrate weakness. She said it underscores the attorney general’s commitment to the heavily Latino region.
Abbott has scheduled a series of events Saturday in the Rio Grande Valley. Chasse said Davis was “sticking with the strategy that led to her losing” numerous heavily Hispanic areas, including Starr, Hidalgo and Webb counties, against unknown primary opponent Ray Madrigal.
“Our campaign recognizes the importance of the Rio Grande Valley, and is conducting unprecedented outreach in the region,” Chasse said. “As such, we’re inviting all of our supporters and volunteers to attend our 'Unidos en el Valle' weekend of events, and are helping to defray transportation and lodging costs for volunteers.”