On the traditional opening day of the fall political campaign season, the candidates for Texas governor stumped for student votes.


HOUSTON -- On the traditional opening day of the fall political campaign season, the candidates for Texas governor stumped for student votes.

As Greg Abbott, the Republican front-runner, unveiled the final piece of his higher education plan on a college campus in Dallas, Democrat Wendy Davis spoke before a rally of supporters at the University of Houston.

Davis and her campaign touted plans to make education more affordable, with ideas like dropping the sales tax on textbooks. But she didn't miss the opportunity to slam her opponent.

"The problem with my opponent Greg Abbott, isn't that he doesn't work hard, it's that he works hard against you," Davis said. "He's spent his career as part of the old insider network."

Abbott, speaking on the campus of the University of Texas Dallas, also emphasized making college education more affordable in the state, including providing college credit for an expanded program of courses offered online.

Davis has gone on the attack against Abbott, launching a series of campaign spots and making a number of personal appearances accusing him of everything from being soft on rapists to selling out state government to insiders.

Abbott, the GOP gubernatorial candidate in a solidly Republican state, has largely ignored the attacks and blanketed the airwaves with a series of spots about his personal story and character. His latest commercial shows him rolling his wheelchair up the ramps in a downtown Houston parking garage, a form of physical therapy he practiced as he recovered from the accident that left him a paraplegic.

"Well, I think what Abbott has to do is not make any mistakes," said Bob Stein, the Rice University political scientist and KHOU analyst. "One would have to predict that he's the likely winner. What does Wendy Davis have to do? It's throw caution to the wind, which she has done, and really engage Abbott and force him out."

The latest poll released by Rasmussen in early August showed Abbott leading by eight points. Other polls taken earlier in the year showed him leading Davis by double digits.

Meanwhile, a third candidate for governor is getting very little attention. Libertarian Kathie Glass is driving around the state in a brightly painted campaign bus, telling anybody who'll listen that both of her opponents are nothing more than cronies and insiders.

"I want to be Texas governor to unite Texans to fight two threats to our freedom: A tyrannical federal government and a state government that's corrupted by cronyism," Glass said.

Brace yourself, because that's just a hint of what we're going to see as the campaign progresses during the 63 days remaining before Election Day.

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