A potential governor who hails from Longview told local supporters Tuesday he hopes to take their values to the Governor’s Mansion in 2015.
“Let me go back to those values — it’s those values that are behind the fights that I’ve been waging against the federal government,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told some 120 backers at Papacita’s Mexican Restaurant. “I’ve been fighting for your constitutional principles.”
The state’s top prosecutor has sued President Barack Obama’s administration 28 times, including an ongoing court battle against the Affordable Care Act.
Abbott included his passion for pushing back at what he deems federal intrusion as one of three focuses in an Abbott administration.
The other two were maintaining state government’s dedication to low taxes and right-to-work, anti-union laws, and helping Texas remake its water and transportation infrastructures during the coming decade.
Abbott was joined in the restaurant by Texas Land Commissioner candidate George P. Bush. The son of ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and nephew of former President George W. Bush of Texas, declined to speak to media and did not address the crowd.
Filing for party primaries doesn’t begin until November, but Abbott has one fellow Republican challenging him so far in former Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken.
Democratic names rising to the top include state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro.
“The campaign couldn’t be going better,” he told the Longview News-Journal before greeting the dinner crowd. “You focus on the people of the state and not any opponents. So, my main focus has been on articulating to the people of Texas how we’re going to make their lives better and how we’re going to keep the economy growing.
“What people need is tested leadership and someone who is a proven fighter for what people in East Texas really believe in.”
Abbott’s Longview roots began in 1963 when Roger and Doris Abbott enrolled their son in the former Pinewood Park Elementary. Abbott went on to Judson Middle School, when his parents moved the family to the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
If he prevails in the March 2014 primary and general election the following November, Abbott would be the second former Longview resident to become Texas governor since James Hogg. That publisher of the Longview News-Journal’s 1872 predecessor held the governor’s office from 1891-95. Thomas Mitchell Campbell, who was born in Rusk but worked in the Gregg County clerk's office, was elected governor in 1906. His two terms last from 1907 to1911.
Abbott has several times on the campaign trail pointed out his support for Latin voters, one of two populations the national GOP has recognized represents a party deficit, is evidenced by his marriage to a Hispanic wife.
The other major Republican challenge is women voters, and Abbott pointed out his aggression in collecting a record amount of back child support, most of which is owed to mothers. He also noted a newly created unit “ ... that cracked down on sexual predators.”
“I’ve been the leader in going after human trafficking, which is a huge problem in the state of Texas,” he added.
Tuesday’s gathering was followed by a $2,500-a-plate dinner at the home of a local surgeon. The Abbott campaign recently reported it raised $1.17 million during August, according to published reports.