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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

A Gift for Wendy Davis

I could be wrong. But I think Democratic candidate for Governor of Texas Wendy Davis just got a huge gift in the form of GOP front-runner Greg Abbott’s decision to campaign with Ted Nugent. Here’s how Manny Fernandez reports it at the New York Times:

Attorney General Greg Abbott of Texas, the leading candidate for the Republican nomination for governor, on Tuesday defended his decision to campaign with the pro-gun musician and conservative commentator Ted Nugent a month after Mr. Nugent called President Obama a “communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel.”
The campaign events and Mr. Nugent’s long history of inflammatory speech stirred outrage among Democrats in the state, including Mr. Abbott’s main Democratic rival, State Senator Wendy Davis, who called the decision to campaign with Mr. Nugent “an insult to every Texan.”

The tone-deaf Abbott responded by calling The Nuge “a fighter for freedom” and The Nuge gushed that Abbott is “my friend” and “my blood brother.” Fernandez quotes the Texas Democratic Chairman’s take:

“He spews hate against our first African-American president and in return, Attorney General Greg Abbott welcomes him to the campaign trail,” Gilberto Hinojosa, the chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, said of Mr. Nugent in a statement. “Is this how Abbott celebrates Black History Month?”

There are some other problems Nugent brings to the GOP campaign, as Fernandez explains:

Democrats had no shortage of comments or behavior from Mr. Nugent’s past at which to take offense. They called him a “sexual predator,” citing an episode of VH1’s “Behind the Music” that stated he had admitted to liaisons with underage girls and had persuaded one girl’s mother to sign papers making him the girl’s legal guardian.
In April 2012, Mr. Nugent was interviewed by the Secret Service after he appeared to threaten Mr. Obama at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting by saying that if the president was re-elected, “I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”

It’s hard to understand why Abbott would want to creep out his campaign with the likes of Nugent, who has called feminists “fat pigs” and “dirty whores,” according to Shelley Kofler’s report at KERA News. Where is the value added? He already had the right-wing nut vote.
But it’s not hard to understand how Abbott’s blood brother could help energize African American voters to turn out in impressive numbers. Abbott may have also given military veterans a reason to vote against him, if this report on Nugent’s bragging about his repulsive draft-dodging strategy is accurate.
The wild card here is the Texas media, specifically whether or not they give Abbott a free ride on his blundering decision to campaign with Nugent. If they do their job, Davis should pick up a few points on Abbott.

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