Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott to appear with Gov. Perry Wednesday
Experts believe Abbott has distanced himself enough from Perry's "political baggage."
Abbott seemed to be distancing himself from Perry when his campaign first launched, making no mention of Texas' longest-serving governor during his campaign announcement last summer. While he has come out publicly in support of many of the same conservative policies Perry has championed during his tenure, he has made a point of offering new and different initiatives.
But of late, Abbott seems to be shortening any perceived distance between himself and the governor — or at least Perry's fundraising ability. The two Republicans are slated to appear together Wednesday at a joint fundraiser at the Houston home of prominent Perry donor and fellow Aggie Tony Buzbee.
Mark P. Jones, chairman of the Rice University’s political science department, said enough time has passed since Abbott first announced his candidacy for him to distinguish himself as a separate candidate and not be perceived as a “Perry surrogate.”
“Maintaining at least a level of distance during the early part of the campaign helps establish the independence of Abbott from Perry,” Jones said, adding that the joint appearance could indicate that the campaign feels it has established its own identity.
Additionally, the distance allowed Abbott to avoid being linked to Perry’s “political baggage,” Jones said.
“Rick Perry is unlikely to cloud voters’ vision of the Abbott candidacy in the same way it might have back in September or August,” Jones added. “Perry has a lot of political baggage, and there’s no reason for it to be added to the ‘Abbott Train.’”
Few details about the fundraiser have been released to the media, but the Abbott campaign has announced the joint appearance to supporters several times in email blasts, calling it a “special occasion” with the “current and future governor." The campaign also offered supporters seats at the reception in exchange for donations of $5 or more.
While the Abbott campaign did not respond to a request for comment, Abbott has previously noted his association with the incumbent governor without too many specifics, saying, “He and I were close friends and allies, and we fought side by side.”
The campaign of Wendy Davis, Abbott's likely Democratic contender in November, expressed no surprise about the Perry-Abbott joint appearance.
“It is unsurprising that Greg Abbott would be appearing with other leaders in Austin who have failed to address the very serious challenges that Texas faces, including our neighborhood schools,” said Bo Delp, a Davis spokesman.
Ideologically, Abbott and Perry line up on many fronts, including their shared opposition to federal health care reform. But Abbott has said he's "not into the comparison game" in terms of whether he's more conservative than Perry.
There appears to be daylight between Abbott and Perry on using programs like the Texas Enterprise Fund, which rewards companies with subsidies in exchange for the promise of creating new jobs in the state, to spur economic development.
Pegasus News Content partner - The Texas Tribune