What’s in a name? Apparently a lot. Especially if you are running for public office, that name is “Boats ’N Hoes”, and you're associated with it.
Texas Republicans moved swiftly to sink the “Boats ’N Hoes” PAC on Thursday, after it sparked controversy when it surfaced on Twitter Wednesday. Its unconventional name provided political ammunition to bolster Democratic claims of a GOP “war on women.” It couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time, as Democrats and Republicans -- not just in Texas, but nationwide -- are engaged in a heated battle to win female voters.
Republican political consultant Allen Blakemore confirmed to The Texas Tribune on Wednesday that his firm’s comptroller, Shaun Nowacki, created the political action committee and named himself treasurer. The PAC, whose name possibly derived from a song in the 2008 film "Step Brothers," was registered with the Texas Ethics Commission on April 1. It hasn’t filed fundraising reports yet, but
The Texas Democratic Party immediately denounced it.
“Texas Republicans say they want to reach out to women, to be more inclusive, but actions like this reinforce a pattern of disrespect,” said Lisa Paul, the Texas Democratic Party spokeswoman, in a statement. “There’s no defending the use of a derogatory and offensive term like ‘hoes’. How can women possibly take the GOP rebranding effort seriously? Their consistent contempt toward women is simply unforgivable.”
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Paul was also quick to point out the connection between Blakemore and Greg Abbott, a Republican candidate for governor. Blakemore, a senior strategist for Republican Dan Patrick’s lieutenant governor campaign, advised Abbott on campaigns between 1991 and 2004.
Abbott, who is currently serving as Texas attorney general, has distanced himself from the PAC. After all, he stands to lose a lot: A recent Public Policy Polling, or PPP, found that Abbott leads his Democratic challenger Wendy Davis 51 percent to 37 percent. The number has remained the same since PPP last conducted a poll, in early November. The polling firm also found that 49 percent of women voters would vote for Abbott and 41 percent would vote for Davis in the gubernatorial election.
“The terminology used in the name of this PAC is reprehensible and Greg Abbott denounces any person or entity that uses such offensive language,” his spokesman Matt Hirsch told the San Antonio Express-News. He also pointed out that his boss hasn’t worked with Blakemore in years.
Even though it has been nearly a decade since Abbott worked with Blakemore, Davis sought to reinforce the relationship between her opponent and the firm that employs Nowacki. Davis achieved national celebrity after her 13-hour filibuster against the state's Draconian abortion restrictions made waves across social media.
“The language used by Greg Abbott’s consultants is offensive to every Texas mother and daughter -- and the men who love them -- and has no place in politics,” Davis spokeswoman, Rebecca Acuña, told the San Antonio Express-News.