Texas Governor Abbott touts border security in major ad campaign ahead of GOP primary


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EXCLUSIVE: Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas highlights his efforts over the past year to bolster security on the Lone Star State’s southern border with Mexico in his closing ad campaign ahead of the March 1 primary in the state.

The ad, which was first shared with Fox News on Thursday, will begin airing this weekend, ahead of nearly two weeks of early voting kicking off on Monday.

The conservative governor, who is running for a third four-year term as Texas leader this year, faces multiple Republican primary challenges from the right.

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The spot, which the Abbott campaign says will spend about $2.5 million to run statewide, features Sheriff Bill Waybourn of Tarrant County, which includes Fort Worth, and Sheriff Ray Del Bosque of Zapata County, which lies along the US-Mexico border south of Laredo.

“There is a clear and present danger in neighborhoods like this. It’s deadly fentanyl, and it’s killing our children,” Waybourn says at the top of the ad. ” How come ? »

“Here across our border,” Del Bosque says. “That’s why Governor Abbott deployed the National Guard to assist border law enforcement. He gave us new authority to arrest trespassers and increased the prison’s capacity to handle criminal arrests. Joe Biden should secure that border, but he won’t.”

“That’s why Governor Abbott is doing the job,” Waybourn said at the end of the ad.

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Border security is a major issue for Republicans in Texas, and in a report released earlier this week, the governor praised Operation Lone Star. It was the effort he launched early last year, amid a surge of undocumented migrants on the country’s southern border, to increase arrests of suspected criminals and the seizure of illegal drugs.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, center, is surrounded by officials as he signs a bill that provides additional funding for U.S.-Mexico border security on September 17, 2021.
(AP Photo/LM Otero)

While Abbott has named his border operation one of his major successes, some Democrats and Republicans have criticized the mission amid reports of suicides, poor working conditions, mismanagement and pay issues among Texas National Guard troops sent to the border as part of the effort.

The top two candidates in a field of seven leading Republicans challenging Abbott — former Texas GOP chairman Allen West, a former Florida congressman and former state senator Don Huffines — have repeatedly lambasted the governor about its border mission.

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Abbott has the backing of former President Donald Trump and conservative Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas as he runs for re-election. The governor had more than $65 million in his campaign coffers at the end of last year, light years ahead of his main opponents. And most polls indicate that Abbott holds a very large lead over the rest of the GOP field.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, right, listens to former President Donald Trump, left, during a tour of an unfinished section of the border wall, in Pharr, Texas, Wednesday, June 30, 2021.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, right, listens to former President Donald Trump, left, during a tour of an unfinished section of the border wall, in Pharr, Texas, Wednesday, June 30, 2021.
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Abbott also outspent its main rivals to run ads. According to figures from national ad-tracking firm AdImpact, the governor has spent $5.1 million on spots so far, with Huffines shelling out nearly $3.9 million. None of the other Republican gubernatorial candidates have spent huge amounts of money running ads.

The winner of the GOP gubernatorial primary will likely face Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman from El Paso who became a rising star in the Democratic Party in November after he nearly ousted Cruz in the 2018 Texas Senate election before to launch an unsuccessful bid. for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

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O’Rourke, who brought in $7.2 million in fundraising in the first 46 days of his campaign, faces nominal opposition for the Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nomination. And according to figures from AdImpact, O’Rourke spent a whopping $300,000 running digital ads.


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