Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott is spending millions of dollars on advertising in his reelection campaign against Democrat Beto O'Rourke.
His campaign spent $4.3 million to broadcast two television ads across the state in August, timing his general election push to coincide with back-to-school season, reported The Dallas Morning News. In contrast, O'Rourke only spent roughly $40,000 for limited airings in August, according to AdImpact.
While Gov. Abbott leads O'Rourke in the polls, the race in Texas is closer than in Abbott's two previous campaigns for governor. O'Rourke has been absent from campaigning recently, owing to a bacterial infection.
O'Rourke's campaign has reserved almost $9 million in advertising that began after Labor Day and will run until Election Day on Nov. 8, The Washington Examiner reported. Abbott has allocated about $5.7 million for ad buys over the same time period.
Abbott had the upper hand in early advertising thanks to $46 million of cash on hand, far outweighing O'Rourke's $24 million, The Washington Examiner noted. The governor has already spent $7.6 million on advertising for the general election as of Thursday, while O'Rourke has spent $3.2 million.
While the environment in Texas still favors the GOP, according to the Texas Tribune, two issues may be trending in Democrats' favor: gun control and abortion rights.
Abbott signed a "trigger law" banning all abortions in the state following the Supreme Court decision in June to end the nationwide right to abortions.
According to the Texas Tribune, polls regularly show that Texas voters, often by wide margins, oppose outlawing all abortion and want stricter gun laws.
"This is one of the few truly unifying issues in the state of Texas right now," O'Rourke said during a news conference in late August marking the effective date of the trigger law. In a subsequent TV interview, he called the election a "referendum on whether we're going to go back literally half a century or whether this state is going to move forward."
O'Rourke is particularly trying to mobilize female voters in light of the decision on abortion. He has also visited all 254 counties in the state, The Washington Examiner reported.
Gov. Abbott does not support any new gun restrictions following the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting in May.
In addition to GOP efforts to change the topic from abortion and guns, Democrats will have to contend with a president from their party, Joe Biden, who remains very unpopular in Texas, the Texas Tribune noted.
"The No. 1 issue by far in the state of Texas is the border," Abbott said in a radio interview. "The contrast on those issues [is] gonna be prolific and is gonna ensure my reelection," he said.
The issue of police funding is the topic of Abbott's first negative TV ad against O'Rourke.
Abbott has accused O'Rourke of wanting to "defund the police." O'Rourke has denied that he supports defunding the police, but he said in 2020 that he "really love[d]" the idea of taking money away from "over-militarized" police departments and reinvesting it in social services, the Texas Tribune reported.
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