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Eye on Politics: Candidates campaign in North Texas as election nears

Eye on Politics: Candidates campaign in North Texas as election nears
Eye on Politics: Candidates campaign in North Texas as election nears 17:06

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The final, post-Labor Day sprint is underway to the political finish line: Election Day, Nov. 8. And from Denton to Dallas County, North Texas was a popular spot for Republicans and Democrats running for office this week.     

CBS 11 political reporter Jack Fink explores recent poll numbers in this week's Eye on Politics. He also covers an eyebrow raising endorsement in the Texas Lt. Governor's race.

Every week, CBS 11 political reporter Jack Fink breaks down some of the biggest political stories grabbing headlines in North Texas and beyond. Watch the latest episode of Eye on Politics in the video player above and stream new episodes live every Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. on CBS News DFW.

The abortion issue and the Texas Governor's race

A new poll of likely Texas voters conducted by the University of Houston and Texas Southern University shows incumbent Republican Gov. Greg Abbott leading his Democratic opponent Beto O'Rourke by seven percentage points -- 49 to 42 percent.

Both candidates have paid North Texas a visit recently. O'Rourke made one of his final stops on his 49 day, 5,600 mile tour across Texas in Denton Wednesday. Last week, Gov. Abbott visited Allen and Fairview. 

On the issue of abortion, each candidate calls the other extreme when it comes to the issue of abortion.

O'Rourke made clear to the Denton crowd this week that a key part of his fight to unseat Abbott is over access to abortion in Texas.  

"I know we're going to win because we're fighting for every woman to make her own decisions," O'Rourke said.

A new state new bans most abortions, with the only exception to save the mother's life.

While campaigning in Allen last week, CBS 11 asked the Governor about O'Rourke's criticism and if Texas Republicans went too far. 

The Governor said, "On abortion, it's Beto who's an extremist because what Beto believes in is not only abortion of a fully developed baby to the very last second before that baby is born."

In response to Abbott's remarks, O'Rourke said, "It is completely false and it's part of his scare tactics."

SMU Political Science Professor Matthew Wilson said the abortion issue has mobilized the Democratic Party. 

"It's really the one major issue that they have that seems to work well for them," Wilson said. "I think you will find them talking a good bit about that because they would certainly rather the election be a referendum about abortion than be a referendum on Joe Biden."

Polls also show some Independents are also very concerned about abortion access.  

Candidates for Texas Governor campaign on abortion access in North Texas 02:22

Other statewide candidates in North Texas

The same University of Houston-Texas Southern University poll shows in the Lt. Governor's race, Republican incumbent Dan Patrick leads Democrat Mike Collier by six percentage points -- 49 to 43 percent. 

In the Attorney General's race, Republican Ken Paxton leads Democrat Rochelle Garza by three percentage points -- 45 to 42 percent.

Both Paxton and Garza stumped for votes in North Texas this week.

Garza told Dallas County Democrats she's fighting for the children and families of Texas.

In an interview, she told CBS 11 that means consumer protection and abortion rights.

"Abortion rights is on the ballot in November, and a vote for a Democrat, a vote for myself, is a vote for abortion rights," she said.  

Full interview: Democratic candidate for Attorney General Rochelle Garza 05:52

At the Collin County Republican Party rally in Plano, two-term incumbent Ken Paxton didn't take reporters' questions.

But he told supporters he's fighting to save the State of Texas against what he calls the federal government's efforts to trample over the state's rights. 

"I think we've now sued the Biden administration 32 times in less than two years," Paxton said. "And why does this matter? It matters because we are literally fighting for this thing we call the U.S. Constitution."

Paxton still faces a trial on state felony fraud charges seven years after he was indicted, and he's reportedly under investigation by the FBI on unrelated allegations of bribery made by his former top lieutenants.  

Paxton has denied any wrong-doing and both candidates said their opponents are wrong for Texas.

Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor Mike Collier also appeared in Dallas this week.  

He won the backing of Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, a Republican who is retiring from office at the end of the year.

In an interview Collier told CBS 11, "I was very pleased and very honored he endorsed my campaign."

Collier said he believes state Republican leaders, including two-term incumbent Dan Patrick, are to blame for high property taxes. 

"Dan Patrick always says he's going to bring them down, but they always go up," Collier said. "It's because they aren't honest about it."

Patrick tweeted a response to the endorsement calling Whitley and Collier "two-of-a-kind, tax-hiking, big spenders."

Full interview: Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor Mike Collier 04:46

Other political headlines

  • Uvalde students returned to school this week for the first time since the mass shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School.
  • Gov. Abbott discussed the power grid reliability with the incoming CEO of ERCOT, Pablo Vegas, who starts Oct. 1, along with interim President Brad Jones and Public Utility of Texas chair Peter Lake.
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