An advertisement slamming Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was pulled minutes before it was intended to air during a University of Texas football game, according to the group that produced the ad.
“Our ad was supposed to air in Texas during the Longhorns game this weekend. But then, 10 minutes before kickoff, we were informed the ad would not run and it was a ‘University-made decision,'” said a statement from The Lincoln Project, a group led by Republican operatives who oppose former President Trump and his allies.
The ad is titled “Abbott’s Wall” and says that caskets of the 60,000 Texans who have died from the coronavirus would stretch from Austin to San Antonio.
A spokesman for Abbott told The Dallas Morning News that the governor was not involved in pulling the ad.
The advertisement was cleared by ESPN’s legal department, and The Lincoln Project had paid $25,000 for the slot, a spokesman for the group told the Morning News.
It was intended to air during Saturday’s football game between the University of Texas and Rice University. The Hill has reached out to the University of Texas about the claim that the school was responsible for pulling the ad.
Abbott is a graduate of the University of Texas and remains involved in appointing members of the school’s board of regents, according to the Morning News.
Abbott is up for reelection next year and has amassed $55 million in his campaign bank account ahead of the race, according to The Texas Tribune
. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) is reportedly considering a run
to oust him from the governor’s office.
David Carney, a consultant to Abbott’s campaign, said he was “saddened to hear the ad might have been pulled” in an email to The Hill.
“I’d rather have them waste $25,000 on their stunt than pay off their past due mortgages or have excess funds to wine and dine more interns,” he said.
Carney was referring to reports from earlier this year that John Weaver, a co-founder of The Lincoln Project, sent unwanted sexual messages
to multiple young men in which he also offered career advice and financial support.
The Lincoln Project has since called
Weaver “a predator, a liar, and an abuser” and said it was not aware of his behavior until claims surfaced on social media and in news reports.
ESPN declined to comment on the matter, and The Hill has reached out to The Lincoln Project for more information.
Updated at 3:09 p.m.