Top Latino group launches Texas ad: ‘Abbott abandoned us’
A top Latino voting rights group on Friday launched a scathing ad attacking Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) timed to land on the day of a crucial gubernatorial debate between Abbott and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.
Mi Familia Vota, a national group that promotes Latino voter participation, will run the ad multiple times Friday on cable news in the Rio Grande Valley and Austin, with the tagline “Abbott nos abandonó” — Abbott abandoned us.
“Governor Greg Abbott’s leadership and policy priorities have harmed the Latino community in Texas. His rhetoric and policy choices are contributing to continued targeted attacks on the Latino community, the passage of voter suppression bills, a lack of Medicaid expansion during a pandemic, and constant anti-immigrant rhetoric from our state leadership,” said Héctor Sánchez Barba, executive director and CEO of Mi Familia Vota.
The list of issues covered by the ad will likely closely reflect O’Rourke’s attack lines in Friday’s debate, a do-or-die moment for the Democrat, who’s currently trailing Abbott by around 8 percentage points.
“We know that [Abbott] is fully aligned with the anti-Latino MAGA movement; that is why this election cycle, we are saying #BastaAbbott in Texas. Latinos are the largest demographic in the state and 30 percent of the state’s electorate; we will make our voices heard and hold Governor Abbott accountable to our community,” Sánchez said.
The ad, which will run in both a long and short version, runs through a series of controversies that have hit Texas under Abbott’s watch.
Some, like the mass shootings in El Paso and Uvalde, have had deadly consequences.
The ad blames Abbott for minimizing the overt anti-Mexican motivations of the El Paso shooter, who in 2019 killed 23 people and injured 23 others at a local Walmart.
“Abbot nos abandonó when he said that the El Paso shooter was mentally ill and didn’t condemn that it was a racist event fueled by Trump’s ‘Hispanic invasion’ claims,” says the ad’s narrator.
Shortly after the attack, Abbott angered Latinos by calling for more investment in mental health, avoiding mention of the shooter’s anti-Mexican motivations.
Days after the shooting, Abbott did say the perpetrator was a “white supremacist” and said the incident involved “racism.”
The Mi Familia Vota ad also focuses on Abbott’s initial praise for the police response in the Uvalde shooting, where a gunman killed 19 elementary school students and two teachers and wounded 17 others.
“Abbott nos abandonó en Uvalde, when he said police did ‘a great job’ and that thanks to this police force intervention things were not worse,” says the narrator.
The ad then cuts to Abbott praising the “amazing courage” of the police response to the shooting, over images of heavily armed police waiting in the school hallway as the shooting unfolds a few doors down.
“Since Greg Abbott was sworn into office, Texas has experienced six mass shootings where nearly 100 Texans have died. Since 2020, 89,000 people have died of COVID in Texas, 40 percent of them Latinos,” said Angelica Razo, Texas state director of Mi Familia Vota.
In addition to Abbott’s response to the mass shootings, the ad covers the governor’s response to the Texas freeze, a major power outage during a cold snap in 2021 that claimed more than 200 lives in the state; the Texas GOP’s voting rights reform; and Texas’s anti-abortion laws.
“Abbott nos abandonó and now, it’s payback time,” says the ad’s narrator. “Ya basta, Abbott! This time, we’re abandoning you.”