Okay, the second half of that headline is not true — yet. But after being catapulted to national stardom for her pink athletic shoes and abortion extremism, Texas Democrat Wendy Davis has been trounced in her bid for the Lonestar State governor’s mansion by Republican Greg Abbott. Fox News has called the race for Abbott with 43 percent reporting. The victory comes after Davis’s myriad campaign missteps, from declining to answer whether she thought her wheelchair-bound opponent was exploiting his disability for political purposes, to questioning his fidelity to the right to interracial marriage, despite the fact that Abbott himself is in an interracial marriage. After declaring that in 2014 Democrats would “turn Texas blue,” by early spring national party leaders had abandoned Davis as a gubernatorial hopeful, pivoting funds to more likely candidates.
More will be said about the final numbers, but Ken Herman of the Austin American-Statesman notes a particularly striking exit poll finding: Despite her emphasis on women’s issues, Davis lost women 52 to 47 percent (Abbott won white women 65-34). Texas’ gubernatorial election is only one indication that Democrats’ “war on women” meme, so successful in 2012, was considerably less effective this election cycle.
Additionally, exit polls found that Abbott secured 42 percent of the Hispanic vote, and lost Hispanic males by only two points. In the final weeks of the campaign, Texas politicos remarked on Abbott’s aggressive outreach to Hispanic voters in the Rio Grande Valley, historically deep blue areas. That effort may have paid off, in which case Republican presidential candidates may find themselves looking closely at Abbott’s Hispanic-outreach strategy come 2016.
It’s looking like a good night for Republicans deep in the heart of Texas.