Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott stumped in San Angelo Wednesday in his campaign to become the next governor of the State of Texas. Election day is Tuesday. Texans have the opportunity to vote for Abbott, a Republican, or Democrat State Sen. Wendy Davis. Abbott leads Davis by 16 points in a University of Texas/Texas Tech poll published Oct. 23.
Perhaps knowing that the poll numbers are lopsidedly favoring Abbott, State Rep. Drew Darby introduced Abbott as the next governor of Texas. But Abbott warned the large crowd of who’s who from Tom Green County Republican politicos in the dining area of the Rosa’s Café on Sherwood Way that the efforts to turn Texas into a “blue” state are a real threat to not only Texas, but the nation as a whole.
Abbott’s 15-minute speech focused more on President Barrack Obama than his opponent Wendy Davis. Abbott’s point was that Battleground Texas, the progressive Get Out the Vote (GOTV) organization, was an immediate threat to the Republican Party’s control of Texas.
Earlier this year, in a speech before the San Angelo Tea Party, former progressive political operative and whistleblower against her former employer ACORN Anita Moncrief warned that the Wendy Davis campaign was not as much about electing Davis governor as it was about having a vehicle to register more people to vote Democrat in succeeding elections.
“My opinion on this is that they [the Left] understand that Wendy Davis for governor and 2014 is not their year. It’s all about data mining and laying the groundwork for something bigger, something much larger, that they’re going to bring to Texas. I think it’s all about 2016,” Moncrief said then.
Abbott’s warning about Battleground Texas echoed those concerns. “I wanted to come here to San Angelo to tell you the magnitude of the challenge that we’re dealing with right now,” Abbott said. “As you talk to your friends here in San Angelo, you may not be aware that there’s an election contest going on. But when you walk around neighborhoods in Fort Worth, or Dallas, or Austin, or San Antonio, or other parts of the state of Texas, you know that Battleground Texas was put into this state for one reason. And that is to turn Texas into Barrack Obama’s vision for America,” he said.
Abbott explained that the Obama for America (now Organizing for Action) field director, OFA’s national finance director, OFA’s national pollster, OFA’s deputy campaign manager, and [Sen.] Harry Reid’s spokesperson “are all here in the state of Texas to destroy the values that people in Texas and specifically in San Angelo believe in.”
Audience members interrupted Abbott to explain that OFA is in San Angelo as well. “Now they’re messing with the wrong people, coming to San Angelo, Texas!” Abbott said to loud applause.
Republicans allege that Democrats use loose laws at the ballot box to register those who are ineligible to vote. To insure the integrity of the vote, one of the tools that is a common campaign issue today for Republicans is to require a voter photo ID. The Obama administration doesn’t want voter photo IDs.
Abbott said as the Texas Attorney General, he led the fight against Obama’s U.S. Department of Justice and US Attorney General Eric Holder to keep in place the Texas voter photo ID that the legislature and Governor Rick Perry made law. “And in Texas, for this election, we will have the voter photo ID law,” Abbott said.
A brief history on the voter ID law in Texas: On Oct. 9, a US District Judge ruled the law unconstitutional. Abbott appealed the ruling, and on Oct. 14, the 5th Circuit of Appeals in New Orleans issued to preliminary injunction against the District Judge’s ruling. The US Supreme Court confirmed that injunction with a 6-3 decision. The fight over keeping Texas’ voter ID law in place isn’t over, but the law is in effect for the Nov. 4 elections.
“As attorney general, I have prosecuted voter fraud across the state of Texas. We’ve had dead people casting votes, live people voting twice, foreign nationals registered to vote illegally. It must be stopped and we will continue to fight cheating and illegal voting at the ballot box right here in Texas,” Abbott said.
Democrats moan at the suggestion from any Republican that voter fraud exists. Their retort is that there is no voter fraud at all; and voter ID laws are a solution looking for a problem to solve.
We asked Abbott privately to elaborate on the charge that voter fraud isn’t real.
Abbott: “First, voter ID is supported by everyone in the state of Texas. We’ve seen all of the polling data that shows support by Republicans, by Democrats, by Hispanics, by African-Americans, Anglos. Every single group. Second, one reason why they support it is because they know that voter fraud is out there.”
A more recent case, Abbott pointed out, is being investigated by the FBI in McAllen. There, cocaine was used to buy votes in a school board election and an election for county commissioner.
“This [voter fraud] is something that is ongoing. It’s been here since the time of LBJ all the way up to today. And the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that one of the effective tools to stop voter fraud is voter ID," Abbott said.
A charge made by Democrats against the Republican-led state government is that the state turned down billions of dollars in free money that the federal government offered Texas and other states to fund expanding Medicaid coverage into higher income brackets. We asked Abbott why it was a good idea for the state to turn down $100 billion in free federal money for expanding Medicaid in Texas? Why not take the free money now, and when or if the subsidy is gone, cut Medicaid?
Abbott: "First, you need to understand that the federal reimbursement to the states will last only a few years. Then it begins to ratchet down, from 100 percent to 90 percent. According to the state Health and Human Services Commission, over the 10 years, had Obamacare been implemented in Texas, it would cost Texas taxpayers between $10 and $20 billion. But, let’s look at the bigger picture. If we were to accept Obamacare in Texas, we would be making a deal with a federal government that is $18 trillion in debt. There is no possible way that the federal government will be able to continue to reimburse the states at 90 percent. You would see that reimbursement rate go down to 80 percent, or 70 percent, until the states will finally find themselves with their entire budgets being occupied paying for the Obamacare system. This is going to destroy the budgets of states that have opted into the Obamacare expansion.
"The reason we can’t get into Obamacare now and get out later is because the Supreme Court has ruled that once you opt in, you are stuck with all of the changes that are made by the federal Medicaid system. You’re not able to opt-out unless you opt-out of Medicaid altogether. And that simply will not be a workable solution."
San Angelo Mayor Dwain Morrison gave a spirited introduction, evoking God, and suggesting that under his leadership as attorney general and soon as governor, Abbott was and will continue to be instrumental in making Texas the envy of the 49 other states.
“Thank you Mayor Morrison,” Abbott replied. “Had you gone on for another four minutes, I am sure that I would have stood up from this wheelchair and walked.” Abbott hasn’t been able to walk since an injury when a tree fell on him in Houston in 1984.
Abbott began his speech with his signature refrain: “I love it here because I know that you support the fact that I wake up in the morning, I go to work, I sue Barack Obama and then I go home.”
Abbott said as AG, he fought in the U.S. Supreme Court to allow the Ten Commandments to remain on the state capitol grounds. He won.