Fight night between Texas gubernatorial candidates draws little blood or attention

Senator Wendy Davis and Attorney General Greg Abbott, two Texas gubernatorial candidates, met for a debate hosted by Univision on Friday, Sept. 19. Although the politicians’ responses may have sounded rehearsed – almost robotic – the debate highlighted the stark differences between the candidates.

However, Davis and Abbott do share some ideological similarities: they both criticized the federal government for failing to keep the Texas border safe, and they support increased border protection, the death penalty, drug testing for people seeking state assistance and improving the public education system. Neither Davis nor Abbott addressed the rising costs of college tuition.

Davis began on the offensive, dubbing Abbott’s courtroom defense of 2011 education budget cuts as “just dumb.” Abbott avoided stating his personal opinions on the budget cuts. However, he argued for reforming the education system to make Texas schools number one in the nation. Later in the debate, Abbott stated that a 2011 Texas law, which Davis supported, obligated him, as the attorney general, to defend the cuts in the court of law.

When the moderator asked Abbott about a comment in which he compared the Rio Grande Valley to a third world country, Abbott explained that he was talking about large-scale corruption in Texas, rather than specifically targeting the Rio Grande Valley.

When asked about giving driver licenses to undocumented workers, an idea that Davis firmly supports, Abbott maintained that under Texas law, issuing drivers licenses to undocumented workers is illegal.

The candidates disagreed on Medicare expansion. Davis stated that she favors Medicare expansion. Abbott stated that while he is in favor of expanding medical services, he is against expanding Medicare through the Affordable Care Act.

During the questioning period on the debate, Abbott asked Davis if she regretted voting for President Obama. Davis, skirting the question, discussed her determination to improve Texas.

On the topic of storing dangerous chemical weapons in cities, the candidates diverged. Davis stated that Texans have a right to know the locations of these chemicals. Abbott disagreed, stating that disclosing the chemical could empower terrorists. He then mentioned that he had prosecuted an ISIL member.

The debate showed that both candidates have different ways to improve Texas. Election Day will be November 4th, and UTSA will be a polling site for Bexar County voter.