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Dewhurst Says He Would Let Equal Pay Bill Go To Senate Vote

Dewhurst campaign video

Incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has said he would allow another equal pay law to go before lawmakers for a vote, but a political expert says those comments may hurt Dewhurst during the May runoff election.

Following his speech in Arlington to a group of Republican women, Dewhurst, who as lieutenant governor allowed an equal pay for women bill to make it to the Senate floor for a vote, told WFAA-TV that if he won this year's election he would once again move the bill through the process.

"If it has the votes to get out of committee then we’ll bring it to the floor,” Dewhurst told WFAA.

Professor Mark Jones, who teaches political science at Rice University, said Dewhurst’s  recent comments could very well hurt him during the May runoff.

"This is probably not a winning political issue for the lieutenant governor when you look at the people who will actually be participating in the Republican primary in May," Jones said. "Now, this is a great position for the general election.” 

Jones said appearing more moderate would help Dewhurst while facing Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Leticia Van De Putte -- that is if he can win the Republican lieutenant governor runoff against state Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston. 

It didn’t take Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis' campaign to jump on the Dewhurst comments. Their campaign has been in a heated battle with Attorney General Greg Abbott over the equal pay issue -- Abbot and Davis face off in the general election for governor.

"This is bad news for Greg Abbott, and he should realize his position opposing equal pay for equal work is toxic and that his allies in the Republican Party are abandoning him," said Zac Petkanas, communication's director for Davis' campaign.

Political experts agree that by taking this position, Dewhurst is putting himself at odds with Gov. Rick Perry, Abbott and Patrick, his runoff opponent.