Beto O'Rourke and Greg Abbott lob negative ads as Texas governor's race heads into final 2 months

Both candidates have slated millions for TV advertising as the November election draws closer.

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click to enlarge Beto O'Rourke's latest video ad targets Gov. Greg Abbott over his support for Texas' "trigger law," which bans abortions even for victims of rape and incest. - Screen capture / YouTube / Beto O'Rourke
Screen capture / YouTube / Beto O'Rourke
Beto O'Rourke's latest video ad targets Gov. Greg Abbott over his support for Texas' "trigger law," which bans abortions even for victims of rape and incest.
Get ready for an onslaught of attack ads as Texas hits the two-month mark before its much-watched gubernatorial race.

After launching a pair of positive, get-to-know-the-candidate ads last month, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday began airing his first TV attack ad of the general election season.

In the 30-second spot, Abbott accuses his Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke of wanting to "defund and dismantle the police," according to a Texas Tribune report. He reportedly delivers the message in front of police cars with red-and-blue lights flashing in the background.

Abbott's claim appears to seize on a 2020 podcast appearance in which O'Rourke, then running for the Democratic presidential nomination, said he was in favor of shifting money from "line items that have overmilitarized our police" and spending it on community services that prevent crime.

In multiple press statements, the former El Paso congressman's campaign insisted he doesn't want to slash police budgets.

For his part, O’Rourke aired his first TV ads of the general election. Those spots, which skewered the Abbott-backed "trigger law" that bans nearly all abortions in the state, only ran during two preseason NFL games.

On Tuesday, O'Rourke launched an online ad, again targeting Abbott's support of the state's abortion ban, which doesn't make exceptions for cases of rape or incest. The 30-second spot weds together two controversial statements by Abbott in which he addressed questions about the lack of an exception for rape victims. Both responses drew widespread media scrutiny.


In the first statement, Abbott responded to an inquiry about why rape or incest victims should be forced to carry a pregnancy to term, he responded by declaring that Texas would "eliminate all rapists from the streets."

The second clip comes from an interview with Abbott from earlier this month in which a reporter asked what he would say to a woman who is the victim of rape or incest and cannot obtain an abortion in Texas. "They can get the Plan B pill," Abbott replied.

Plan B emergency contraception can prevent pregnancies if taken within a few days of sexual intercourse, but it's not alway effective. Critics have also pointed out that it can be too costly for poor and uninsured women.

As of last week, O'Rourke had slated $10 million for TV advertising, according to a Texas Tribune report. Meanwhile, Abbott revealed plans this summer to pump at least $8.8 million into TV ads for the fall, plus an additional $2.75 million in spending for Latino media.

In other words, get ready for more negative ads to flood the airwaves.

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