Texas’ Governor race is heating up, and if you don’t believe it just take a look at last night’s debate where former congressman Beto O’Rourke and Gov. Gregg Abbott debated over some of the state’s most important political matters such as gun control, reproduction laws, and immigration.
Click on the video below to check out the full transmission of the debate.
The debate took place at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg in an empty auditorium, even though 35 family members of Uvalde’s shooting victims drove over 5 hours to be present at the event. The terms of the debate had been set up this way from the beginning, but O’Rourke’s team reached out to Abbott’s campaign to request a change of format to a town hall-style format, but the Governor’s team refused.
Also, check out a brief summary of the main talking points of the debate.
Abbott’s recent actions towards immigrants have spurred a lot of controversy as of late, busing migrants up north, using them as political pawns rather than human beings to prove a point — or win votes, have gained the governor a lot of criticism both nationwide and internationally. When asked about how much money should be allocated towards Operation Lonestar, the state’s failed operation to “protect the border”, the Governor answered “zero,” even though he has spent over $4 billion dollars on it. Abbott proceeded to say that none of it would be necessary if the Biden administration would “do their job” and secure the border.
On that note, O’Rourke took the opportunity to mention that Abbott’s strategy would consist merely of deflecting blame, not only on immigration issues but on many other matters.
“What we just heard from the governor is what we’re likely to hear over the course of this debate,” O’Rourke said. “He’s going to blame people like President Biden. He’s going to try to lie about my record, and he’s going to distract from his failures, whether it’s his failure to keep the lights on in the grid, his failure to address school shootings or his failure in immigration.”
One of the most sensitive subjects of the night: Gun Violence. Abbott tried to deflect blame once more, saying that he opposed to any law changes “purely from a legal position” and added that other states, like Florida, that have passed such laws would have to deal with legal battles in the future. Abbott also said that he was against red flag laws because they would deny “lawful Texas gun owners their constitutional right to due process.”
Beto fired back by saying that he fully supports raising the age to buy assault-style rifles, universal background checks, and red flag laws.
It’s worth noting that since Abbott took office, in 2015, Texas has endured 229 mass shootings. For more information about gun violence in the state, check out Reform Austins’ Gun Violence Watch site.
On the matter of reproductive rights, Texas’s trigger law has made it virtually impossible to get an abortion in the state, even if you’re a victim of rape or incest. Beto said he plans on returning to abortion statutes established by the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, thus protecting abortion access for every citizen.
“This election is about reproductive freedom. If you care about this, you need to turn out and vote,” O’Rourke said. “I will fight to make sure that every woman in Texas can make her own decisions about her own body, her own future and her own health care.”