US Top four takeaways from first and only TV debate between Abbott and O’Rourke
Beto O'Rourke says he doesn't regret confronting Abbott, other Texas officials in Uvalde after school shooting
Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke said on Saturday that he doesn't regret confronting Gov. Abbott and other officials after the Uvalde shooting in May.The Democratic candidate in the Texas gubernatorial race interrupted a press conference one day after the shooting, telling Abbott and others who were briefing the community that they were "doing nothing" to stop future massacres.
Gov. (R-TX) and Democratic challenger faced off in their first and only televised candidate debate on Friday as the two battle for the Texas governor’s seat in a closely watched election.
The candidates covered a number of topics, such as immigration reform, gun violence, and abortion, as the two sought to paint the other as an extremist who is out of touch with Texas voters. The debate is important for O’Rourke as the former congressman, offering the Democrat a last-ditch effort to reach voters before Election Day.
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is pulling away from Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, aided by the support of Hispanics and the state’s opposition to abortion. In the latest Emerson College/the Hill survey, the abortion issue — recently supercharged by the U.S. Supreme Court’s move to strike down Roe v. Wade — appeared to be helping the Republican governor.Ditto with the ongoing border crisis, which has prompted the governor to ship illegal immigrants to Washington, including dozens sent to the gate of Vice President Kamala Harris’s official home.
Here are the top four moments from theon Friday:
Front and center: Night begins with questions on immigration
The night began with questions focused on immigration reform, a hot topic in Texas as Abbott has made headlines for months after busing thousands of illegal immigrants to cities such as Washington, D.C., and New York City.
Abbott approved the transfer of the, arguing the Biden administration has not done enough to secure the southern border. Most recently, the Texas governor garnered national attention after sending buses to Vice President Kamala Harris’s last month.
High stakes for O'Rourke in Texas governor's debate Friday
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Beto O'Rourke spent his 50th birthday this week behind the wheel of his pickup in Texas, fast approaching a big moment in his uphill climb for governor. While a road trip through college campuses showed how the Democrat continues to draw big crowds — a photo line at the University of Texas snaked across an outdoor plaza in 90-degree heat — O'Rourke is still trying to close in on Republican Gov. Greg Abbott with six weeks until Election Day, Nov. 8. That raises the stakes for O'Rourke on Friday night in his only debate against Abbott, who has tried to refocus the race to his hard-line immigration measures on the U.S.
“Beto just wants to perpetuate the open border policies and mischaracterize exactly what's going on,”. “He refuses to acknowledge that the city of El Paso, because they were so overwhelmed by Joe Biden's open border policies, they too are having to bus migrants out of their communities because they have no way of keeping them there.”
Gun control in the wake of the Uvalde mass shooting
The mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in May has taken center stage during the midterm cycle, with O’Rourke seeking to pinpoint the blame on the incumbent’s policies on gun control.
“Gov. Abbott’s grid failure is part of a pattern over these last eight years," O’Rourke said, referencing thein February 2021 caused by severe winter storms that left at least 246 dead. "Warned about, for example, school violence and gun violence specifically against children, [and he] does nothing."
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The Texas Democrat continued: “Warned about problems within child protective services, our foster care program, [he] does nothing, and it gets worse. Warned before February 2021 that we had problems in the grid, he did nothing.”
O’Rourke has previously denounced Abbott for the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, confronting the Republican governorone day after the shooting occurred. Abbott pushed back on O’Rourke’s claims that he “has not lifted a finger,” arguing he supports policies that would crack down on gun violence but maintained he is against enacting red-flag laws that would restrict one’s access to firearms.
“[I am] still against red flag laws for the reason that it would deny a lawful Texas gun owner their constitutional right to due process,” Abbott said.
Candidates spar on abortion rights
Abortion has become one of the most high-profile issues during the midterm cycle, particularly after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade over the summer, ending nationwide access to the procedure.
Abbott and O'Rourke clash over immigration, abortion in Texas governor's debate
The Friday debate is likely to be the only one before November.The Rio Grande Valley debate is likely to be the only faceoff between the gubernatorial candidates ahead of November, in a race where O’Rourke is fighting to cut Abbott’s lead. A recent set of polls shows the two-term Republican governor ahead by about 7 points as the share of undecided voters decreases. O’Rourke has broad support among Latinos and other people of color, while Abbott still has a strong hold on white voters across the state, as well as rural voters.
After Roe’s reversal, Texas enacted its trigger law that bans the procedure after fertilization with no exceptions for rape or incest, making it a felony for anyone who seeks an abortion in the state. Abbott defended the law, arguing the state has made it easy to access emergency contraception.
“Not only should [contraceptives] be readily available, but the state of Texas is going to pay for it, to make sure it is available for [rape victims],” Abbott said. He then sought to paint his opponent as an extremist, claiming that “Beto’s position is the most extreme because he not only supports abortion of a fully developed child to the very last second before birth, he’s even against providing medical care for a baby who survives an abortion. He is for unlimited abortion at taxpayer expense.”
O’Rourke fired back, calling it “completely a lie. I never said that. And no one thinks that in the state of Texas. He’s saying this because he signed the most extreme abortion ban in America. No exception for rape, no exception for incest.” If elected, O’Rourke said he would reinstate abortion rights in the state.
O’Rourke seeks to clarify stance on police funding
The candidates also focused on policing reforms during the debate, with O’Rourke seeking to clarify his stance on defunding the police as Abbott has sought to paint the Democrat as a flip-flopper on the issue.
Abbott and O'Rourke clash over gun restrictions in lone Texas gubernatorial debate
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke clashed over gun restrictions in a debate Friday night, with O'Rourke claiming that Abbott blames "everybody else" for mass shootings while "misleading this state."“It’s been 18 weeks since their kids have been killed, and not a thing has changed in this state to make it any less likely that any other child will meet the same fate,” O’Rourke said in their debate at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg. “All we need is action, and the only person standing in our way is the governor of the state of Texas.
“He’s flip-flopped on defunding the police. Whether it’s one issue or another, he keeps changing positions,” the Texas governor said.
Abbott has repeatedly tried to paint O’Rourke as a candidate who wishes to dismantle law enforcement,appearing to show the Democrat pushing to defund the police. The video clips were taken in June 2020 in which O’Rourke voiced support for Black Lives Matter protesters who wanted “to defund these line items that have overmilitarized our police and instead invest that money in the human capital.”
O’Rourke’s campaign has rejected claims the Democrat wants to defund the police, calling Abbott’s ads untrue. When O'Rourke was asked if he backed defunding the police, he simply stated, “Of course, I don’t.”
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Gov. Greg Abbott Appoints First School Safety Chief Four Months After Uvalde Shooting .
Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday appointed former U.S. Secret Service agent John P. Scott as the Texas Education Agency’s first chief of school safety and security, a position the governor created in response to the Uvalde mass school shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead. Scott formerly served as a Secret Service agent in the […]Scott formerly served as a Secret Service agent in the Vice Presidential Protective Division from 2006 and 2010 during the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, according to his LinkedIn profile. He later helped lead the Secret Service field office in Dallas.