Denton County is now officially on the Republican circuit.
Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott will be in Denton today with GOP rocker Ted Nugent as part of a get-out-the-vote drive in Texas, and land commissioner candidate George P. Bush — the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and nephew to former President George W. Bush — was in town Monday meeting and greeting local voters.
It’s a nod to Denton’s credentials as a solidly Republican area with clout, said Denton County Republican Party Chairman Dianne Edmondson.
“This is a must-stop,” Edmondson said. “We have been telling them for several years and now they get it — that Denton County delivers a strong Republican vote. If you don’t win Denton County, you don’t win the state.”
Abbott’s appearance with Nugent at campaign events today in Denton, however, and, later in the day, in Wichita Falls drew sharp criticism from Democrats and women’s groups Monday, who cited the rocker’s abusive name-calling and his admission to previous relationships with under-age girls, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Abbott, the state’s attorney general who is running to replace Rick Perry as governor, will join Nugent at El Guapo’s Restaurant, 419 S. Elm St.
A meet-and-greet begins at 11:25 and Abbott will speak during lunch. The public is invited to attend.
The Lone Star Project, a Democratic group, criticized Abbott on Monday for pledging to protect young Texans while booking appearances with Nugent.
“Greg Abbott has criss-crossed our state publicly promising to protect Texas women and children while he’s been making plans to appear at campaign events with an admitted sexual predator,” said Lone Star Project director Matt Angle.
Abbott spokesman Matt Hirsch said Nugent “is a forceful advocate for individual liberty and constitutional rights — especially the Second Amendment rights cherished by Texans.”
Hirsch added, “While he may sometimes say things or use language that Greg Abbott would not endorse or agree with, we appreciate the support of everyone who supports protecting our Constitution.”
Bush, a Fort Worth lawyer, brought his campaign bus to Denton on Monday with a stop at El Guapo’s, Edmondson said.
“He’s very approachable, and he likes to just mix and mingle with the people,” Edmondson said.
Edmondson said Bush has been on a campaign swing through Texas and has stopped at about 35 cities so far.
Christy Hoppe, Austin bureau chief for The Dallas Morning News, contributed to this report.
DIANNA HUNT can be reached at 940-566-6884 and on Twitter at @DiannaHunt.