Davis runs risky campaign ad

Texas candidate for governor takes big gamble in attack on her opponent

For politicians, fall not only means pumpkins and changing leaves, but a greater emphasis on political campaigns as they launch last-ditch efforts
to garner votes.

OFFENSIVE — Gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis used her opponent’s handicap as advertisement. Google Images

OFFENSIVE — Gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis used her opponent’s handicap as advertisement. Google Images

Wendy Davis, Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate and current Texas senator, likely had this on her mind when her campaign released an ad attacking her opponent. Her ad, titled “Justice,” goes beyond the typical mudslinging and accusations common in political ads. The ad focuses on the fact that her Republican opponent Greg Abbott uses a wheelchair due to an accident in which a tree fell on him in 1984. Released Friday, Oct. 10, the ad has more than 450,000 views on YouTube and has generated much criticism.

The ad shows a black and white picture of a wheelchair and a narrator tells how Abbott, the current Texas attorney general, sued and made millions on his accident. The narrator of the ad goes on to talk about how Abbott opposed certain cases involving victims of rape and amputees during his time as Texas Attorney General. Furthermore, the ad states that Abbott supported a hospital that employed a doctor who performed surgeries resulting in paralysis of patients.

Davis may have a good point in telling the public about her opponent’s apparent hypocrisy, but the effort is not likely to sway more Texans to vote for her. According to a CNN article, Abbott was leading Davis 54 percent to 40 percent in a recent poll.

These numbers are not likely to change due to the poor taste of the ad.

“Sen. Davis’ ad shows a disturbing lack of judgment from a desperate politician and completely disqualifies her from seeking higher office in Texas,” Abbott’s campaign spokesperson Amelia Chasse told USA Today.

As Chasse stated, Davis’ ad has every reason to keep her from winning the race and possibly even future races. Davis may have been trying to use the ad to show that Abbott is unwilling to help victims, but it unintentionally made a bad guy out of her. More saddening than that, though, the ad shows a character issue in Davis and how desperate she is to be elected as governor. It made people question what kind of person would “attack a guy in a wheelchair,” as Abbott said in an interview with the San Antonio Express-News after the ad was released.

In the same interview, Abbott talked about how his campaign ads “focused on what (he is) going to be doing as governor.” Davis could have gone the same route or released an ad showing how Abbott’s plans would not work for Texas, but instead, she chose to attack the fact that her opponent is disabled.

It is hard not to imagine this ad coming back to hurt Davis in the future, and it is ironic that the ad she intended to help her campaign may end up hurting it.

DEPIERO is an opinion writer.

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