AUSTIN (KXAN) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is taking on his new rival for governor in new and very public ways, in addition to President Joe Biden.
Earlier this week, Abbott’s campaign revealed photos of recently placed billboards calling current gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke “bad for Texas” and Biden “bad for America” .
In the days following O’Rourke’s announcement of his official candidacy for Texas governor in 2022, Abbott focused on O’Rourke’s criticisms, in addition to what he sees as corollaries between O’Rourke and the president.
Abbott’s campaign released a statement on Monday, saying in part: “From reckless calls by Beto O’Rourke to fund police for his dangerous support for the Biden administration’s open border policies, which have resulted in thousands of fentanyl deaths, Beto O’Rourke has shown he had more in common with President Biden than he does with the Texans…. The last thing Texans need is President Biden’s radical liberal agenda coming to Texas under the guise of Beto O’Rourke. The contrast for the Texas leadership couldn’t be clearer.
On a trip to the border town of Mission this week, O’Rourke, a resident of El Paso, said earlier this week that the Texas-Mexico border is of particular importance to him. However, he skipped a trip to the border wall, which he opposes and says Abbott uses for “photo ops.”
O’Rourke also did not express his feelings for Abbott.
“I think there are plenty of reasons for people to fire Greg Abbott as governor,” O’Rourke said Monday. “In fact, they are growing day by day, and when we could look at 72,000 lives lost in Texas by its failure to meet the challenges of this COVID pandemic, or the hundreds of people who were killed in a winter storm, not because of nature, but because of Greg Abbott and his inability to make sure the power grid worked for all Texans.
Since the deadly winter storm in February, Abbott has come under international scrutiny for its ban on COVID-19 masks and vaccines, for signing a law banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy and for network failure Electric Texas by ERCOT, which left millions without heat in freezing temperatures for days.
In September, a Texas Politics Project poll showed incumbent Abbott to be the most unpopular, with a majority saying Texas was heading in the wrong direction.
Regardless of Abbott’s attacks, however, the O’Rourke campaign is off to a promising start, with the campaign announcing that it has raised $ 2 million in the first 24 hours of her gubernatorial run. The organization said the tally was a 24-hour record for any Democratic gubernatorial candidate and the highest of any 24-hour campaign so far this year.
Abbott’s campaign is not wavering either. Texans for Abbott says it raised nearly $ 5 million between Sept. 7 and Oct. 19 – donations from all 50 states, though 85% came from Texans, the campaign reports.
Just over two weeks ago, a Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation poll found that 43% of registered voters said they would vote for Abbott, and 42% said they would vote for O’Rourke – even if he hadn’t made an official announcement by then. Although he hasn’t held public office since 2019, O’Rourke, 49, has remained among Texas’ biggest political stars.
Texas for Greg Abbott says the billboard will appear in cities across the state.