Wendy Davis' 1st TV Spot Hits Greg Abbott For Siding With Company Over Rape Victim

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The Wendy Davis campaign released their first TV spot overnight and it’s a doozy.

It continues the attack on Greg Abbott for siding with corporations over people in his official capacity as a public servant — in this case a victim of rape.

The ad focuses on a 1993 court case in which a woman sued a vacuum company after she was raped by a door to door salesman. Abbott, a Supreme Court justice at the time, wrote the dissenting opinion claiming that the company was not liable, even though a routine background check would have discovered he was a sex offender on probation.

In an email Wendy Davis wrote, “Texans deserve to know the truth about who Greg Abbott is fighting for – political and well-connected insiders – at the expense of hardworking Texans. And, his record proves it.”

A bipartisan majority on the Supreme Court found the company liable but Abbott disagreed.

“The question presented is whether a company that markets and sells its products through independent contractor distributors and exercises control by requiring in-home demonstration and sales, owes a duty to act reasonably in the exercise of that control. We hold that the company does owe such a duty,” the majority opinion read.

For his part Abbott said the company had “no duty” to the victim and that “Kirby retained control over where the work was to be performed, not over who was to perform that work.”

That lame excuse sounds a lot like the scheme that allows for companies to get out of responsibility for misclassified workers. In the GOP primary Abbott’s chief opponent addressed this issue saying, “when companies misclassify workers and one gets injured on the job, the unethical companies trying to cheat the system will simply dump the injured workers on our county hospitals leaving taxpayers to pick up the tab.”

After the ruling in 1993 the rape victim, Dena Kristi Read said,”I hope this decision will cause Kirby to change its ways to make sure that criminals are not sent into people’s homes to sell Kirby vacuum cleaners,”

According to the Texas Tribune Abbott’s campaign spokeswoman Amelia Chasse called the ad “gutter politics,” but didn’t refute the substance of the ad.

“In the case referenced in Sen. Davis’ despicable ad, Greg Abbott’s decision left intact the liability against the sex offender and his employer,” Chasse said.

But did it really? Abbott’s own words seem to run contrary to that statement, in his dissent he wrote,

“Failure to require background checks of potential dealers relates to who is a dealer, not where the dealer works. As a result, the requisite relation between the control retained and the alleged injury is missing. Because the Court holds to the contrary, I dissent.”

Abbott’s response to the barrage of insider accusations has been the old “I’m rubber you’re glue” tactic of trying to spin Davis as the “insider” but there is no comparison. If Wendy Davis is an insider it’s on behalf of the tens of thousands of small donors and volunteers across the state — something her own record shows.

Abbott has even attacked Wendy for raising money out of state while he has done the same. But Abbott hasn’t just taken any out of state money, he has lined his pockets with at least $100,000 from the infamous Koch brothers who fund right wing campaigns (many unsuccessfully) around the country. They’re industry insiders who donated heavily to Abbott after the West, Texas explosion. Shortly after that Abbott would reverse decades of precedent that allowed Texans to know if harmful chemicals were being stored in their neighborhood.

The 1993 rape case isn’t the only time Abbott sided with a big company over victim’s families. As BOR reported last month after a “sociopathic” surgeon was sued over botched surgeries “Greg Abbott used his AG’s office to help the hospital avoid the suits, and was rewarded with a $350,000 donation from the hospital’s board chairman.

Wendy will appear in South Texas today to talk about her record of standing up and empowering victims of rape including a bill passed that she wrote to address the state’s backlog of untested rape kits.

The burly voice in Davis’ ad finishes with the line, “Thank God this time, Greg Abbott lost.” The ad ultimately ends with written text that reads, “Another insider. Not working for you,” tying the minute long salvo to a long list of prior indictments.

Abbott’s spokesperson said Davis’ ad was a response to Abbott’s because theirs came out mere hours before. But besides the obvious fact that this video wasn’t done in that time frame, the real timeline for the ad dates back to 1993. Given the subject matter, the ad could have just as easily been tied to how Abbott’s policies have systematically been detrimental to Texas women. It doesn’t mean that is his intention, but as a public servant he has failed to champion equality for Texans and the outcomes have been unacceptable. No one is disputing that Greg Abbott loves his mother-in-law, we just believe he should treat every mother that way, in law.

Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

The minute long ad says:

March 26, 1993. A pleasant spring day in Seguin, Texas. But for one woman, it quickly became a nightmare. A Kirby Vacuum salesman came to her door to offer an in-home demonstration. And while her children slept in the very next room, the salesman brutally raped the young mother.””The salesman was a sexual predator on probation,” the ad continues. “But the Kirby vacuum distributor had failed to perform a routine background check on him. The woman and her husband went all the way to the Texas Supreme Court. Fighting for their right to sue Kirby. Six judges – Democrats and Republicans – ruled in their favor and they won. But Greg Abbott sided with the company against the victim. Saying the company had no responsibility. Thank God this time, Greg Abbott lost.”

Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

About Author

Joe Deshotel

Joe was born and raised in Beaumont, Tx, but live music and politics brought him to Austin. He has worked in and around government and elections for over a decade including for a member of US Congress, the Texas Legislature, the Mayor of Austin. He currently serves as Communications Director for the Travis County Democratic Party. He is most interested in transportation, energy and technology issues. He also likes Texas Hold'em and commuting on his electric skateboard. Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

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