September 9, 2014
Greg Abbott campaign questions legality of Wendy Davis’ book tour, wipes flopsweat from collective brow
by Liam O'Brien
We entered the weekend with Wendy Davis book news sure to drum up even more pre-tour publicity, and to nobody’s surprise we exit the weekend with even more; this time, coming to us from the camp of her opponent in the gubernatorial race, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. As reported by the Texas Tribune, Abbott campaign manager Wayne Hamilton formally requested a ruling from the Texas Ethics Committee on whether the promotion/tour for her new memoir Forgetting To Be Afraid constitutes corporate contributions (illegal in Texas, apparently).
In the committee request, Hamilton (the former political director for Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential bid) implies that the publisher and campaign are in collusion to place Davis in office through a coordinated effort to sell…books. While there’s an argument to be made that a failed campaign certainly won’t boost sales (Hi, Christine Quinn!), Hamilton’s argument is weak at best. He posits that because Blue Rider Press and the campaign share an interest in raising Davis’ (referred to throughout simply as “the candidate”) profile amongst Texans, this must be corruption. You know, that old argument that “if it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck and it will bolster the upswell of publicity and make her look even better to voters while our campaign’s lead in the polls continues to drop, it’s probably a duck that is corrupt but definitely not corrupt like Republican ducks who also benefitted from book publicity.”
After dropping a few tweaked quotes from unnamed “political science professors” (one of whom, Jerry Polinard, supplied a neat pull quote about Hamilton’s old boss a few weeks ago), Hamilton concludes by calling Davis is not just a cheat, but a miser too, for “keeping all royalties from the book sales personally, as opposed to donating them to charity.” Davis’ campaign has laughed this all off because it would probably be in bad taste to say they’re sending Hamilton a fruit basket thanking him for the free increase in media coverage. No statement from Blue Rider yet, but I’d hazard that their inventory coordinator’s cracking his/her neck and getting ready for a few new orders.
Liam O'Brien is the Sales & Marketing Manager at Melville House, and a former bookseller.