AUSTIN, Texas — In the final day before Election Day, Greg Abbott, the Republican nominee for Texas Governor, worked hard to rally supporters to get out the vote. Abbott met with supporters and press in Houston and Austin, and then held a “tele-townhall” later Monday evening with callers all across the state. Clearly feeling optimistic and confident about the election, Abbott was nonetheless concerned about Republican voter complacency and whether the rain forecast for Tuesday would depress turnout.
Scott Fisher Says: Southeast winds are back. That means even more moisture moving in, and BIG RAINS coming Tue/Wed. pic.twitter.com/GMMVO7ZHKJ
— Scott Fisher (@scottfisherFOX7) November 3, 2014
Breitbart Texas attended Abbott’s event in Austin, where supporters waving posters and local media gathered at a hangar at the airport while gray storm clouds drifted by outside.
“The voice of Texans must be heard at the ballot box tomorrow, so I’m here, once again, to urge everybody to get out to vote,” said Abbott. Referring to the weather forecast, Abbott warned, “Do not let one day of rain dampen the imperative that you go vote. Your voice and your vote tomorrow will matter for more than just one rainy day — it will matter for the next four years, for the future of Texas.”
Abbott mentioned the phone call that President Barack Obama had held with his Democratic opponent Wendy Davis earlier in the day, working together to turn out the Democratic vote, and said that both were too liberal for Texas. “Wendy Davis is the ideological twin of Barack Obama.”
Drawing perhaps the largest applause line of the afternoon, Abbott told supporters that in a few short hours, they would make history, because voting for him would make his wife Cecilia Texas’ first Hispanic First Lady. Mrs. Abbott, attending the rally with their daughter Audrey, warmly smiled as the crowd cheered for her.
Cecilia & Audrey Abbott pic.twitter.com/MJDIsrliRF
— Sarah Rumpf (@rumpfshaker) November 3, 2014
Abbott also took a moment to express his “heartfelt thanks” to his supporters who had supported him for more than a year of campaigning. “From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for your hours and days and years of hard work and service to make sure that we keep Texas the best state in the nation.” Abbott mentioned how his office had been open 24 hours a day for the past few days, and joked how they had “made Texas history, because we actually worked twenty-five hours in one day,” due to Daylight Savings moving the clocks an hour back on Sunday.
The Attorney General then took a few questions from the media. The weather was again a topic, with Abbott saying he was “very concerned about the rain” affecting turnout, but as a Texan, he has to be happy about any rain we get. “We want rain in this state, this is a blessing! People should go out and dance in the rain, because we need it so much. But do not let the rain dampen your effort to go out a cast a vote.”
— Sarah Rumpf (@rumpfshaker) November 3, 2014
In response to a question about Davis’ attack ads, Abbott replied that he did not think that would be a successful strategy for her, and that he believed that voters would prefer a governor who would “cast a vision about what they will achieve for Texas,” instead of negative ads. “The only thing people know about Wendy Davis is that she does not like Greg Abbott,” he said. Polls show that Abbott’s lead over Davis widened after the backlash to her “empty wheelchair” ad.
With the polls for Election Day 2014 not yet open, the 2016 elections still intruded on the day. As the event wrapped up, one reporter asked Abbott if he had any thoughts about who he might be endorsing for president in 2016…”or if you might be running yourself?” Abbott demurred and said he was just focusing on Tuesday.
Later Monday evening, Abbott held a telephone town hall, hosted by State Senator Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills), who urged listeners to make sure to vote on Tuesday, “whether it’s raining or shining or sleeting.” For those who had already voted, he urged them to spend the day helping encourage their friends, family, and neighbors to get to the polls. Hancock reported that nearly 70,000 Texans called in from across the state. “We have a pretty good thing happening here in Texas and I can’t think of a better person to lead this state than Greg Abbott.” “Grab an umbrella, but get out and vote.”
Many of Abbott’s responses to caller’s questions were predictable to those who have followed his campaign. The Attorney General still strongly opposes Obamacare, which he called a “complete disaster,” and vowed to continue fighting it in court. He reiterated his vocal support for gun rights, receiving an A+ rating from the NRA, and added, “The time has come for open carry in the State of Texas.” Abbott also mentioned his continued opposition to Common Core and support for reducing the amount of required standardized tests and expanding local control of schools. “I believe it’s time we put trust in our teachers, instead of all these mandates from Austin,” he said.
Regarding abortion, Abbott said, “I am very pro-life and have fought for innocent life my entire career,” including as a Texas Supreme Court Justice and as Attorney General. He mentioned how he had led a group of attorneys general in the national effort to fight partial birth abortion and how he has gone to court to defend the sonogram bill and HB 2. “No one in this state has fought to impose abortion in this state like Wendy Davis has,” added Abbott, imploring pro-life listeners to go out and “vote pro-life” to counter Davis’ pro-abortion supporters.
On border security, “there’s been a lot of talk about the border…and the time has passed for talk, it’s time for action,” said Abbott, describing his plan that includes adding 500 DPS officers, more Texas Rangers, more funding for local law enforcement, increased funding for airplanes and boats to patrol the border, anti-gang strategies to counter the cartels’ activities here in Texas, and stronger legislation with tougher penalties for human smuggling.
One caller from San Antonio voiced his annoyance that many Republicans assume Hispanics will vote Democrat. Abbott agreed that Hispanic Texans were not necessarily Democrats, and that he was proud of his support in the Hispanic community. “San Antonio has a deep connection for me,” said Abbott, mentioning that his wife is from San Antonio and that is where they got married, adding again how very proud their family is that Cecilia will be the first Hispanic First Lady for Texas. “Faith comes first…second is family, third is freedom, the freedom to start a business…that’s what my wife’s family believes in, what the Republican party believes in.”
Abbott continued, “There is no one in the state of Texas who has fought harder for religious liberty than I have,” said Abbott, noting his letter as Attorney General to the Houston mayor who tried to subpoena the pastors, and his work leading the lawsuit to defend the Ten Commandments monument at the Texas Capitol.
Regarding Texas’ Voter ID law, Abbott believes that the United States Supreme Court will uphold the law, because they upheld a similar law in Indiana, despite not having any evidence submitted of in-person ID fraud at the polling places. Abbott was adamant that the law was necessary to protect the integrity of Texas elections. “As your Attorney General, I have prosecuted voter fraud here in Texas. Voter fraud is real, and it must be stopped,” he said, mentioning the case in the Rio Grande Valley where cocaine was used to buy votes, and other recent cases of known voter fraud in Texas. “We have to have integrity at the ballot box.”
Abbott closed the call emphasizing the vital importance of this election and voter turnout from Texas conservatives. “Please, I’m urging everyone on this call…do not let Barack Obama’s liberal agenda hijack this state,” Abbott implored his supporters. “We’re fighting for the future of this state.”
Polls are open until 7:00 p.m. The Abbott campaign has set up a website where Texans can find their polling locations at VoteEarlyTexas.com.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker