Turning Texas Blue: National Left Targets Texas with Funding, Media

During the second special session of the 2013 Texas Legislature, a previously unknown Texas state senator, Wendy Davis, from Fort Worth, Texas, skyrocketed to political fame by conducting an eleven-hour filibuster on the floor of the Texas Senate.

What would become Sen. Davis’s failure – her attempt to stop a strong Texas pro-life bill – actually began her rise in fame with the left-wing political media and from the pro-choice money that both would like to turn Texas blue.

During the second half of 2013, according to a January 15, 2014 report by Timothy P. Carney in the Washington Examiner, Sen. Davis raised $3.8 million; nearly $1.07 million of that came from sources outside the state of Texas. Carney reported that since Davis’s fame came from her aforementioned filibuster of the bill to ban abortions in Texas after five months of pregnancy and to regulate abortion clinics to the same health standards as other outpatient surgical facilities, it would be “safe to guess that a huge portion of that $1.07 million in out-of-state money is pro-choice money.”

Left-of-center media outlets like Huffington Post came to Davis's aid by publishing articles like one by Ashley Alman exaggerating Davis’s fundraising success by combining the direct fundraising of the Davis campaign with that of various PACs like Battleground Texas and the Texas Victory Committee. The article came up with a number of $12.2 million, then compared it to the $11.5 million of the Republican gubernatorial frontrunner, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. Alman’s article leaves out the fact that Abbott’s number is not a combined total but rather his individual fundraising total. Other left-of-center media outlets like the Austin-American Statesman quickly jumped on the bandwagon. Even the Greenfield, Indiana Daily Reporter had to get in on the act.

The way media outlets have covered other stories shows how they are eyeing Texas as a battleground.

When Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst made a statement at a Houston, Texas, forum for the four candidates competing to be the next Texas lieutenant governor, referencing the pay Texas teachers receive, the left-of-center Associated Press took the statement and blasted it out and, in so doing, it distorted Dewhurst’s well-documented position on Texas teachers' pay. The story was quickly picked up by left-of-center news groups across the nation like the San Francisco Chronicle.

What Lt. Governor Dewhurst said in the debate was: “We’re paying our teachers, when you count in the cost of living [across Texas], a very fair salary.” The AP story focused in on Dewhurst's claim that teachers are paid a "very fair salary" while Dewhurst's actual words focused in on the cost of living. The AP used data showing that Texas's teacher pay ranks lower than what “32 other states pay educators,” while ignoring the fact that a drastically reduced cost of living in Texas changes that equation.

The Teacher Portal website tells a different story. This site takes an in-depth look at the truth about teachers' salaries and reflects data from multiple sources including the National Education Association, job surveys, and private data analyses to create a “Salary Comfort” index reflecting the cost of living impact Dewhurst described in his statement. When you factor this in, as Dewhurst did and the AP didn’t, Texas actually ranks 12th in the nation, just behind Massachusetts and ahead of New Jersey, Virginia, and New York. California, which ranks in the top five states for average teacher’s pay, occupies the 33rd position when factoring in cost of living.

The nationwide left-wing establishment's focus and willingness to spin and distort internal Texas issues to benefit a left-of-center narrative further validates the words of Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri. In a September 2013 Forbes interview titled "Why America’s Political Destiny Hinges on What Happens Next in Texas," he stated, “There are 18 states that haven’t gone Republican in 25 years. Together they total 240 electoral votes. All the Democrats have to do is swing Texas, with its 38 Electoral College votes. Then they have an Electoral College majority. They don’t have to worry about the rest of the country.”


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