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Race for Texas governor hits TV airwaves

Gov. Greg Abbott is locked in a close matchup with Beto O’Rourke with less than 90 days until election day.

HOUSTON — It’s a highly competitive election year and political ads will soon flood the airwaves and social media to paint differences between candidates.

Gov. Greg Abbott is locked in a close matchup with Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic challenger, and with less than 90 days until election day, the incumbent governor put out his first general election TV ad.

“If you can’t win the air war, it’s going to be really hard to be able to get the votes out that you need,” University of Houston political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus said.

Election season means political ads will inundate TV and social media screens -- pair that with a competitive race for governor and it means a lot of money could be spent over the next couple of months.

“Greg Abbott has a huge war chest, he’s got plenty of money to spend, Beto O’Rourke is a bit of a celebrity in national liberal Democratic circles so he will attract a huge amount of money,” SMU associate professor of political science Matthew Wilson said.

Abbott is up first on TV with an ad narrated by his wife, Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott, talking about their lives through tragedy together --as he tries to rebound in favorability with voters.

“In his particular case, using some of that TV ad money to run positive ads about his own background and accomplishments makes some sense,” Wilson said.

But some ads are going on the offensive against the Republican governor. A political action committee, Mother’s Against Greg Abbott, is back with another viral video.

“You have the ability to be able to reach more people but it may not be the exact way that you want it to,” Rottinghaus said about the potential for outside ads influencing races.

In a back-to-school political ad, Mother’s Against Greg Abbott asked Texans to vote for change amid the Uvalde school shooting and no legislative action since the mass shooter killed 19 kids and two teachers.

“Keep our kids safe for you and me,” is how the ad ends with a young boy dressed in military-style protective gear.

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