David Yates Aug. 11, 2014, 3:02pm

AUSTIN (Legal Newsline) – On Monday morning, state Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee for Texas governor, sent out an email to supporters notifying them of the release of the campaign’s first television advertisement.

Davis, who trails Attorney General Greg Abbott in the polls and in money, says in her email that the “ad highlights how Abbott’s long history of siding with insiders comes at the expense of Texans, including victims of rape.”

The full-minute ad centers on an early 1990s lawsuit brought by a woman who was “brutally” raped by a Kirby Vacuum salesman as her two children slept. The salesman was a sexual predator on probation but the Kirby distributor failed to perform a routine background check.

By a 6-3 vote in 1998, the Texas Supreme Court upheld a $160,000 award in favor of the plaintiff against Kirby, with then-justice Abbott dissenting and finding that Kirby owed no duty or was responsible for the distributor – the actual party in charge of hiring, court records show.

“During Abbott’s time on the Texas Supreme Court, he sided with Kirby Vacuums against a woman raped in her home by a Kirby salesman–a salesman who had a criminal sexual predatory history,” Davis said in the email.

“No background check of the salesman had been performed before he raped the woman as her children slept nearby. Abbott sided with Kirby saying the company had no obligation to require background checks on salesmen going door-to-door in Texas neighborhoods. Thankfully, Greg Abbott lost. And with your help today, he’ll lose again in November.”

In a statement, Abbott campaign spokeswoman Amelia Chasse called the ad “gutter politics” from a candidate without substance.

“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. “No amount of desperate distortion attempts or token ad buys by Sen. Davis can change the facts of Greg Abbott’s record of fighting for Texans.”

Reach David Yates at elections@legalnewsline.com


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