While GOP candidates campaign, Texas Democrats roll out 2012 team

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by MARK WIGGINS / KVUE News and Photojournalist MATT OLSEN

Bio | Email | Follow: @MarkW_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on February 23, 2012 at 7:24 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 23 at 7:42 PM

AUSTIN -- While the final four contenders duke it out for the Republican presidential nomination, forces on the other side of the ticket are planning a strategy of their own.

At a media conference Wednesday at the Texas Democratic Party's Austin headquarters, Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced the Texas Truth Team -- a statewide effort to fight back against what Schultz called "false attacks" on the president's record.

"We need the truth to be out there about the president and his record, because it affects what happens in races for Congress, and in races for the State House," State Rep. Mark Strama said regarding the importance of statewide Democratic effort.

Democratic state representatives wasted little time challenging the GOP contenders over the issues of immigration, education, and birth control in particular.

"If he listens to his friends, Santorum's approach to family planning can be summed up in one word -- Aspirin," said State Rep. Dawnna Dukes.

Texas Democratic Party chairman Boyd Richie cast the current debate over birth control as an extension of the fight that began with the passage of a Texas law requiring a sonogram before an abortion.

"This is not just a Texas issue," said Richie. "It's a national issue when they declared war on women, and it started here."

Rather than birth control, it's the crisis over Texas school funding that resulted from sharp budget cuts under a heavily Republican Texas Legislature that Richie believes may have the best chance of tipping the scales for Democratic comeback.

"I think people across the state are beginning to have buyer's remorse about what happened in 2010," said Richie. "When their children are in crowded classrooms, when their favorite teacher has been lost."

Democrats haven't won a statewide race since the mid-90s, but Dukes offered an explanation.

"Every single statewide race in Texas has been bought at a millionaire's cost by the super PACs," Dukes affirmed. "That doesn't mean that the people of Texas, the majority, agree with their policies. It just means that competing with them dollar for dollar is very, very difficult."

Despite the difficulty, Texas Democrats vow to make it a fight. Their success or failure will be judged at the ballot box in November.

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