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Democrat's ad attacking disabled foe features wheelchair

If Democrat Wendy Davis falls short in her bid to become the next governor of Texas - which seems likely, given current polling data - she can at least be sure it wasn't because she pulled any punches in her campaign advertisements.

In a brutal ad released this week, Davis' campaign notes that Abbott, who's been using a wheelchair since he was partially paralyzed by a falling tree in 1984, sued and received millions of dollars in compensation for his injury. But since then, the ad charges, Abbott has built a career on denying other victims the same justice he received.

"A tree fell on Greg Abbott," the narrator says as an empty wheelchair is shown onscreen. "He sued and got millions. Since then, he's spent his career working against other victims."

"Abbott argued a woman whose leg was amputated was not disabled because she had an artificial limb," the ad continues. "He ruled against a rape victim who sued a corporation for failing to do a background check on a sexual predator. He sided with a hospital that failed to stop a dangerous surgeon who paralyzed patients."

"Greg Abbott: he's not for you," the ad concludes.

The spot predictably created a firestorm of controversy. Abbott's campaign condemned the ad and said it should "disqualify" Davis from voters' consideration.

"It is challenging to find language strong enough to condemn Sen. Davis' disgusting television ad, which represents a historic low for someone seeking to represent Texans," Abbott spokeswoman Amelia Chasse told CNN. "Sen. Davis' ad shows a disturbing lack of judgment from a desperate politician and completely disqualifies her from seeking higher office in Texas."

The Davis campaign, though, said the ad's charges were fair game.

"What this ad shows is that after rightly seeking justice for himself, Greg Abbott turned around and spent his entire career denying that same kind of justice to other victims," Zac Petkanas, Davis' communications director, told The Huffington Post. "Whether they were victims of brutal rape, whether they were disabled individuals, or whether they were patients who were maimed by a surgeon who was under the influence. These are important questions that Texans have a right to know about."

Abbott, the state's attorney general and a former Texas Supreme Court justice, is nursing a healthy lead in the polls over Davis. The latest figures from the CBS News/New York Times battleground tracker, released this week, show Abbott ahead, 54 to 40 percent.

Davis, a state senator, first burst onto the national stage in June 2013 after she temporarily delayed the passage of an anti-abortion bill through the state legislature by mounting a one-woman filibuster. The bill was ultimately muscled through over her objections.