Greg Abbott is afraid of alienating Hispanic voters, while Lt. Gov. hopefuls fear angering the Tea Party.
Attorney General Greb Abbott, GOP candidate for governor, is finding himself at odds with would-be No. 2s over repealing the Texas DREAM Act.
Republicans running for Texas lieutenant governor are practically tripping over themselves to oppose the 2001 law that affirms in-state college tuition rates to young undocumented immigrants living in Texas.
Abbott, increasingly weary of alienating Latinos, had been repeatedly dodging questions over the matter time and again, until his campaign finally spoke on the issue. Sort of.
In a written statement on Thursday, Abbott spokesman Matt Hirsch said Abbott believes the goal of the law is laudable but needs revamping.
"Greg Abbott believes that the objective of the program is noble," Hirsch said. "But, he believes the law as structured is flawed and it must be reformed."
All four Republican Lt. Gov. hopefuls are taking much more definitive stances. Sen. Dan Patrick spotlighted immigration over a 30-second TV ad falsely claiming he's the only GOP candidate for Lt. Gov. who's running "to oppose in-state tuition for illegal immigrants."
Read more on what challenges the Texas DREAM Act may face in the 2015 Legislative Session below the jump.
Abbott's spokesman provided no other details on Abbott's position, saying: "The campaign will unveil specific policy initiatives in the coming weeks and months."
Abbott's hesitation to oppose repealing the DREAM Act presents a divide with the Republican candidates for lieutenant governor, who all week have tried to out-do each other in opposing the law. This is in an attempt to flaunt their conservative credentials at the Tea Party.
All four candidates say their intent as Senate president would be to repeal the policy. The DREAM Act offers in-state tuition at Texas universities to undocumented students if they meet certain criteria, including a Texas high-school degree or its equivalent.
In an interview, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said that "we'll see a strong push" in the 2015 legislative session to eradicate the tuition policy.
"I expect to see more conservatives elected to the Texas Senate and that will help us in this endeavor," Dewhurst said.
Sen. Dan Patrick originally spotlighted the policy by falsely clamining to be the only candidate "to oppose in-state tuition for illegal immigrants."
The attack set off strong retaliations by the other candidates.
Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Dewhurst shot back, calling Patrick a liar. Patterson and Staples pointed to instances in which they offered public opposition, while Dewhurst said he always has opposed the policy.
Things got heated up when all four lieutenant governor candidates debated the issue at the Texas Municipal League conference last Friday:
All four disregarded any anit-Latino motives, or that the Republican Party had a messaging problem with Latinos.
The entire debate -- and all the problems between Republicans and Latinos -- can be perfectly summarized by moderator Evan Smith's comment on past remarks made by a Hispanic commentator, stating: It's like the Republican Party tells us (Latinos) that we're ugly all year long, but then asks us out to prom.
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