Speed Reads

Playing politics

Wendy Davis campaign runs controversial rape ad

Most polls show Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) lagging behind state Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) in her bid to become the state's first Democratic governor in two decades. And in politics, when the battle looks like a tough one to win, sometimes the solution is a high-risk, high-reward gamble.

But the Davis campaign's decision to run an ad accusing the Republican Abbott of "siding with a corporation over a rape victim" is a very risky gamble, indeed. The ad began airing on Thursday night, describing a 1993 incident in which a woman said she was raped by a Kirby vacuum salesman while her children slept in another room. The man turned out to have a prior conviction which the company failed to find because it did not run a background check. The woman sued the vacuum company, and the Texas Supreme Court sided with the victim — but Abbott, the ad notes, dissented, writing that Kirby "owed no duty" to the woman.

It's a dark missile of an ad, made more controversial by the fact that the Davis camp admitted on Friday that it had not spoken to the victim before releasing the spot, notes the Houston Chronicle. While some political analysts said the risk could pay off, especially in a "long-shot campaign," others were less than impressed, and Abbott's camp immediately decried the ad, calling the move "gutter politics."

Decide for yourself after watching the minute-long spot, below. --Sarah Eberspacher