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Abbott claims O’Rourke will defund police in new attack ad. O’Rourke says he won’t

Abbott’s ad launched Tuesday as he campaigns with law enforcement officers across the state. But O’Rourke said in July he does not support defunding police.

DALLAS — The campaign for Texas governor is heating up, with temperatures rising on Tuesday as Gov. Greg Abbott dropped a new attack ad against opponent Beto O’Rourke.

The Abbott campaign titled its new ad, “Dangerous."

It uses comments from a 2020 interview with O’Rourke in the days after the George Floyd murder in Minneapolis.

The narrator in the ad says O’Rourke “stands with groups that support defunding the police.”

It ends with an image of O’Rourke and a graphic that says “Dangerous for Texas.”

In the 2020 interview, O’Rourke said he loved that Black Lives Matters and other protesters had put the idea of defunding line items that overmilitarized police front and center.

He also signaled support for Minneapolis’s pledge to dismantle its police department.

At an event in Houston at the Houston Police Officers' Union on Tuesday, Abbott reiterated the same message.

“In the race for governor, defund the police is a very big issue because Beto seriously and candidly came out in favor of supporting defund the police,” Abbott said. “He supported and said he loved the idea of what Minneapolis was doing to both defund and dismantle police.”

Abbott will bring the same message to North Texas on Wednesday at an event at the Fort Worth Police Officers Association.

O’Rourke and Abbott both campaigned in Houston Tuesday.

No one in the crowd at a town hall focused on Latino voters asked O’Rourke his stance on the defund the police movement.

The candidate did talk about his plan to restore abortion and voting rights, as well as reform immigration and gun laws.

He also told the crowd that Abbott “turned his back on law enforcement, public safety, and all of us,” through his support of permitless carry, which the governor signed into law in 2021 over the objection of several Texas police officers who testified against it.

O’Rourke’s campaign pointed to a July 2022 town hall event in the West Texas town of Pecos where someone in the crowd who supports the defund the police movement did ask his opinion on it.

“I don’t see eye to eye with you on defunding the police. I want to make sure we can count on the police and that means making sure they have the resources, funding, and training they need, and that they meet the expectations we all need,” O’Rourke responded.

The O’Rourke campaign also said O'Rourke voted to increase law enforcement funding as a congressman and member of the El Paso city council.

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