By John Celock
Texas Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wendy Davis became a hero to many progressives with her filibuster against an anti-abortion bill last year, but she’s struggling to gain traction in her statewide bid, a new poll shows.
A poll from Public Policy Polling, released Tuesday, shows Republican nominee Greg Abbott leading Davis 51 percent to 37 percent, a similar result to November poll that had Abbott leading 50 percent to 35 percent. Abbott, the state attorney general, and Davis, a state senator from Fort Worth, are competing to succeed retiring Gov. Rick Perry (R).
The poll shows that a series of negative publicity has hurt Davis with a 47 percent of those surveyed having an unfavorable opinion versus 33 percent having a favorable rating, a change from previous polling. Davis shot to national fame with her filibuster last year and has been touted by a series of national Democratic groups in her gubernatorial campaign.
Davis was hit with negative publicity earlier this year over accusations of altering her biography.
The poll also shows that Republicans are in a strong position to retain the lieutenant governor’s office, regardless of who wins a May GOP primary runoff. The PPP results have both Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) and state Sen. Dan Patrick (R) leading state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D) by similar margins.
Dewhurst, who lost a 2012 U.S. Senate primary to Sen. Ted Cruz (R), and Patrick are competing in a May 27 runoff after neither failed to capture a majority in the March primary.
In Texas government, the lieutenant governor wields more power than the governor, including complete control over Senate committee assignments and agendas, along with membership on several powerful boards.
The poll also showed that Republican George P. Bush (R) holds a commanding 50 percent to 32 percent lead over former El Paso Mayor John Cook (D) in the race for state land commissioner. Bush, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), is seeking his first public office.
The Texas land commissioner manages the state’s public lands and coastal areas, including mineral rights, along with administering veterans programs.
The news comes as Bush has lined up a May 7 fundraiser at the Westfield, N.J. home of New Jersey state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R). Kean’s father, former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean (R), was close to Bush’s grandfather, former President George H.W. Bush. The news though comes as most New Jersey Republicans continue to express support for Gov. Chris Christie (R), a potential 2016 presidential candidate against Jeb Bush. However, Christie late last year, orchestrated a failed coup to oust Kean from the minority leader’s chair.
Kean did not return a message left by The Celock Report for comment on his decision to host a fundraiser for Bush.