TEXAS, USA — No, it's not just your imagination. Glance at a local TV station and you have a good chance of seeing an attack ad related to the governor's race.
The Texas Tribune reports Gov. Greg Abbott launched a new attack ad campaign at the beginning of the week. According to the Houston Chronicle, he's trying to buy $4 million dollars worth of TV spots.
Abbott's 30-second TV ad claims Beto O’Rourke is for defunding and dismantling the police according to a podcast from two years ago, and then shows Abbott in support of police.
Not to be outspent, a new pro-O’Rourke group titled "Coulda Been Worse LLC" is looking to buy $6 million in TV ads starting on Friday, according to the Texas Tribune. This group has a minute-long ad recounting three recent Texas mass shootings, the electric grid crisis, and multiple other problems Texas faces.
At the end, there is a brief clip of Abbott stating, "It could have been worse."
But are these claims even close to being correct? Here's what 6 News dug up.
In Abbott's attack add against O'Rourke, it shows "Beto O'Rouke saying 'Defund' and 'Dismantling' Police" during the add.
O'Rourke did discuss this topic on his podcast on June 15, 2020. On that podcast he stated, “I really love that Black Lives Matters and other protesters have put this front and center to defund these line items that have overmilitarized our police and instead invest that money in the human capital your community, make sure that you have the services, the help, the support, the health care necessary to be well and not require police intervention. And then also in some necessary cases, completely dismantling those police forces and rebuilding them."
O’Rourke went on to say the Minneapolis police department had a "system-wide problem" and said "only by dismantling it and rebuilding it intentionally with community members at the table do you have any hope of getting it right."
This was specifically in reference to the unrest in Minneapolis after the murder of George Floyd.
The Texas Tribune reports O'Rourke later said during a West Texas town hall event, “I want to make sure we can count on the police and that means making sure they have the resources and funding they need, the training that they need.”
In context, O'Rourke does not seem to be calling for defunding the police in Texas, and where he did call for "dismantling" a police department he also said it should be rebuilt.
In the minute-long ad Coulda Been Worse LLC, the viewer starts with even less context.
Abbott's statement of "it could have been worse" was from a press conference on May 25, after the horrific shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde on the previous day.
Abbott said, "The reality is, as horrible as is what happened, it could have been worse. The reason it was not worse is because law enforcement officials did what they do. They showed amazing courage by running toward gunfire for the singular purpose of trying to save lives."
This was, unfortunately, not true in the case of the Robb Elementary shooting. But just two days later, as new information came out, Abbott held another press conference to update the public and correct the record.
"I was misled. I am livid about what happened. I was on this very stage two days ago and I was telling the public information that had been told to me in a room just a few yards behind where we are located right now," Abbott said. "As everybody has learned, the information that I was given turned out in part to be inaccurate. I am absolutely livid about that. My expectation is that the law enforcement leaders that are leading the investigation, which includes the Texas Rangers and the FBI, they get to the bottom of every fact with absolute certainty. The families whose lives have been destroyed, they need answers," Abbott said.
In context, Abbott has corrected his statement just two days after he made it, and the quote would not accurately reflect the the Governor's opinion since that point.