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Abbott Focuses On Issues As Davis Criticizes Nugent Alliance

MCKINNEY (CBSDFW.COM) - Likely Republican nominee for Governor Greg Abbott returned to North Texas Monday when he made an appearance in McKinney.

Abbott credited grassroots Republicans for helping boost his campaign against likely Democratic nominee Wendy Davis. "It is you who will beat Barack Obama's paid operatives every single time."

This time, Abbott appeared without rocker Ted Nugent -- who created controversy during a stop in Denton last week.

Nugent had previously called feminists "fat pigs" and referred to President Obama as a sub-human mongrel - a comment he apologized for last week.

Abbott was asked Monday if he had any regrets campaigning with Nugent. "What I have learned as a fundamental principle in my life is to always look forward, never look backward."

Likely Democratic nominee for Governor Wendy Davis and her campaign issued another statement today trying to turn up the heat again, questioning Abbott's judgment.

Collin County's Democratic party chair Shawn Stevens says Abbott can't dodge the issue. "If he truly wants to be Governor of the state of Texas and all the millions of different people of different walks of life he will seek to govern, and if he does end up being Governor, he needs to think about the people he associates with."

Eddie Bueno, an Abbott supporter, says Abbott shouldn't be held responsible for Nugent's comments. "Just because he has his own personal opinions about the political, the people in Washington, DC, should not reflect on him as a personal issue."

Abbott insists he's focused on the issues. "All this rhetoric doesn't create a new job, doesn't build more roads, doesn't build better schools. That's what voters want, that's what I will give to voters."

The controvery comes as a new poll in the Governor's race was released by the Texas Tribune.

It shows Abbott has an 11 point lead over Davis, 47-36 percent, with 17 percent who had no opinion.

The poll was conducted before the controversy erupted over Abbott's appearance with Nugent.

SMU political science professor Cal Jillson says Abbott's campaign was damaged by the news, but says it wasn't as much as the damage the Davis campaign suffered amid questions that were raised over the accuracy of her biography.

Abbott's association with Nugent may have helped Davis' campaign with fundraising.

Her campaign says it raised $2.85 million in the past month ending February 22nd.

During the same time period, the Abbott campaign says it raised $2.45 million.

Abbott though still has nearly three times the amount of cash on hand as Davis, $29.98 million vs. more than $11.3 million for Davis.

Follow Jack on Twitter: @cbs11jack

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