California, New York, Ted Nugent lofted in Texas gubernatorial debate

Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott square off and you can watch at 8 p.m. Texas time Sept. 30, 2014.
Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott square off and you can watch at 8 p.m. Texas time Sept. 30, 2014.

In their second and last gubernatorial debate Tuesday in Dallas, Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis occasionally lofted claims we've previously tackled.

Asked about Republican-steered Texas choosing to not expand Medicaid access in accord with the Obamacare law, Davis, the Democratic nominee and a Fort Worth state senator, said such intransigence means federal dollars going instead to California and New York.

We don't think so. In April 2013, we rated False a claim by state Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, that the forsaken aid would flow to other states. Texans’ tax dollars aren’t handled separately from others in the Medicaid program. Also, what Texas decided doesn’t affect how much money is available for other states.

Davis, asked about the state’s standardized tests, accurately said Abbott, the Republican nominee and state attorney general, has unveiled a plan that could lead to Texas 4-year-olds taking standardized tests.

Abbott hasn’t called for mandating such tests; he’s proposed assessments of Texas students enrolled in public pre-kindergarten at the start and end of each school year and said a way of doing so would entail standardized tests. His proposal lists alternate assessment methods and says districts that volunteer for his pre-kK program should be left to pick a testing approach from options that would be fashioned by the state.

As in their Sept. 19 debate in the Rio Grande Valley, Davis charged Abbott with needlessly continuing to fight schools in court despite a state judge’s ruling that the school funding system is both underfunded and unconstitutional. Abbott countered in the earlier debate that Davis in 2011 voted to impose a legislative restraint on the attorney general’s ability to settle such matters. Mostly False, we concluded, because lawmakers mandated the legislative sway in 2007, before Davis won her Senate seat. But Davis later voted for tightening the legislative limit.

Davis on Tuesday repeated her claim that Abbott campaigned with a predator who had boasted of sex with underage girls. Half True: Davis is right that Ted Nugent, who stumped with Abbott this year, has talked about sexual escapades with much younger women. Then again, we found no confirmation of Nugent explicitly saying his victims were underage. Also, Davis’ statement could have given debate viewers the impression Nugent is a convicted sex offender, which isn’t so.

Davis said she’d like to ask voters to reconsider the bar on gay marriage in Texas. Abbott replied that 75 percent of Texans previously supported the limit at the polls; 76 percent of voters who turned out did so in 2005.

As before, this is a good time to look at each hopeful’s PolitiFact report card.

Abbott statements have landed each of our six gradation-of-truth ratings.

Davis has four of them; she’s yet to draw a True or False.

Of late, we rated Pants on Fire a Davis claim about Abbott and Abbott surrogates dismissing the significance of incest and rapes. This came after our Half True for the senator’s claim in the previous debate, Sept. 19 in the Rio Grande Valley, that Abbott had stumped with a predator.

Both candidates drew a Mostly True from claims in the initial debate. Abbott referred to a cocaine-for-votes investigation in the valley, though we didn’t see how that linked to his support for the Texas mandate that voters present photo IDs at the polls. Davis was right the Republican Party of Texas platform calls for repealing the Voting Rights Act; we don’t know if Abbott agrees with the platform provision or not.

The winner in November will succeed Rick Perry. Perry, who might make another run for president, has been governor since just after George W. Bush resigned to move to Washington, D.C. in December 2000. At that time, Abbott was a justice on the Texas Supreme Court. Davis was a member of the Fort Worth City Council.

Let us know if you heard a claim that made you wonder.



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