For one night only, two political heavyweights at the top of the Texas ticket will battle it out. Republican incumbent Greg Abbott will face Democratic challenger Beth O’Rourke in Edinburgh on Friday night in their only debate.

RealClearPolitics’ average survey Abbott scored 8 points for the race. Here are some topics to keep an eye out for during a clash.

O’Rourke will come out swinging

Incumbency is an advantage for a reason, and Abbott has benefited from it, as have many before him – meaning O’Rourke was very much the aggressor on the campaign trail.

Expect O’Rourke to run on a variety of issues against the incumbent; energy system, abortion restrictions and the Uvalde school shooting were all among the challenger’s most frequent rhetorical attacks.

But the longest-running issue in O’Rourke’s arsenal, the grid and state response after the 2021 crash, may not be so overwhelming after the grid surpassed tests this summer of rising temperatures and spikes in electricity demand.

Lately, O’Rourke’s rhetoric has focused more on electricity rising costs which are the result of the post-collapse caution with which the state manages its grid – bringing in more backup sooner, which costs.

The Democrat got a fundraising drive after the decision of the US Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jacksonwhich overturned Roe v. Wadereturning the issue of abortion restrictions back to the states.

State Republicans pass 2021 ‘abortion ban’ after court overturns roe deer. This completely banned abortion and criminalized assisted abortions, but does not punish the mother or use procedures designed to save her life in the event of a medical emergency.

Since then, O’Rourke and other Democrats have had an abortion top feature of their companies, in particular, drawing attention to the lack of exceptions in the law for rape or incest. His television commercials slammed the sitting president for “signing the toughest abortion ban in the country.”

Lately, Abbott has turned sharply away from his opponent, defending the state’s laws saying, “Abortion is the taking of a child’s life, and our purpose in passing the laws we have passed is to protect the lives of those children.” He also hit out at O’Rourke for supporting pre-birth abortion.

Back in May, when asked if there were any legal restrictions he supported, the Democrat told Texas that this “decision should be made by a woman”.

A large number of polls have shown that the majority of public support lies somewhere between the abortion restrictions in Texas law and O’Rourke’s position of no restrictions.

After Uvalde, O’Rourke has moved the sight on gun restrictions, including red flag laws, universal background checks this year and raising the age to purchase a rifle to 21.

He also stated his support for “removing the AR-15 and AK-47 from the [possession in] community’, mitigating only that if elected he may have to ‘compromise on this issue’.

O’Rourke also linked the recently passed handgun ban law to the Uvalde shooting, a crime that did not involve a gun.

Before tomorrow’s debate, O’Rourke will hold a press conference with some of the families of the victims of the Uvalde school shooting to call for an increase in the age for purchasing rifles.

“It’s been more than four months — 18 weeks — since Abbott told 21 families in Uvalde that the sixth major mass shooting on his watch ‘could have been worse,'” O’ campaign said in a release. Tube.

“These families have repeatedly called for accountability, justice and action after Texans endured five of the deadliest mass shootings in American history during Abbott’s failed tenure.”

These issues, while not comprehensive, are likely to be among the rhetorical arrows O’Rourke throws at Abbott. And with a persistent deficit in the upper single digits, O’Rourke must gain some ground in the only one-on-one matchup he’ll get with his opponent.

Abbott will connect O’Rourke with the White House

Both inflation and illegal border crossings are at high levels in the country, and Abbott has focused on both. He often directs his anger at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and its occupant, President Joe Biden.

Abbott also routinely associated O’Rourke with these issues.

Biden’s favorability in Texas is poor, tied at a net negative 18 points by the latest Quinnipiac survey. Voters polled likely ranked the border situation at the top of their list of priorities, followed by abortion and then inflation.

O’Rourke has at times split with the Biden administration on the border issue, calling for “order and the rule of law,” which includes returning asylum seekers without credible claims. He also changed his attitude about the existence of Section 42 – a federal provision that accelerates deporting illegal border crossers to prevent the spread of infectious disease – what the Biden administration has tried to stop from May.

During the week, O’Rourke promotion in such event, the termination of the operation of section 42 criticized The White House for putting the cart before the horse in ending it and then stopping short of supporting its elimination for a longer period of time.

The border guards have it encountered more than 2 million illegal immigrants this fiscal year, not counting those who cross the border and evade detection.

Abbott has continually blasted the Biden administration for “ignoring the crisis on the southern border” and ramped up his Operation Lone Star, the deployment of Texas National Guard troops to the state to try to plug the many holes left by the federal government’s lax enforcement.

More recently, the beginning bus traffic illegal immigrants to other major self-styled “sanctuary cities” across the country, garnering national media attention as well as indicating Mexican drug cartels selling fentanyl as “terrorists”.

On inflation, Abbott linked federal government spending – highlighting a recent presidential decree will forgive a portion of outstanding student loans – and Biden’s energy policies as drivers of rising prices.

The governor argued with the president about the energy direction — asserting using flawed data to justify increased regulations on oil and gas producers in the Permian Basin — and turned the tables on O’Rourke’s past statements.

During that campaign, the Democrat advocated for increased employment and oil and gas production, specifically to displace Russia as the main supplier to Europe. But during and after his presidential campaign, up until the current campaign, O’Rourke supported policies such as a cap-and-trade system that would set caps and trade credits on private-sector emissions; a ban on drilling on federal lands; and an end to offshore drilling in the gulf.

When gas prices grainy in June, the Abbott campaign hit out at their opponent: “With record gas prices gripping Texas, the anti-energy policies promoted by far-liberal Beth O’Rourke will only worsen the pain at the gas station.”

Similar taunts are likely to be levied during the debate.

Abbott has an electoral advantage on both issues. In early September survey from Dallas Morning Newsthe governor boasted a 24-point trust advantage among those polled for “border security,” an 11-point advantage in “improving our economy,” and a 14-point advantage in “reducing crime.”

The only area in which O’Rourke had an advantage was a 1 point advantage in “bringing people together”.

Houston casts a shadow the size of Texas

The state’s largest city looms large in political discourse as it is densely populated. He is used both as a progressive mascot and as a conservative punching bag in public politics – a place he often occupies.

Harris County has informed In 2022, 720 murders were recorded, which is 65 percent more than in 2018. A growing number of these murders are by offenders, often violent, released on low cash bail or personal surety, who then go on to kill. Since 2018, 183 people killed by criminals have been released.

Abbott made this a feature of his campaign, stating in a press conference“Harris Bail Revolving Door Is Literally Killing People.”

He has since promised to reform public benefits even more than the state did last session.

Harris County and Houston are not the only places in Texas to implement the policy, but they have become magnets for its criticism.

The county also became the latest face of police “defunding” after the Texas comptroller issued a find such, in particular, due to the removal of more than $3 million in transitional funds from police budgets. The district has suedobjecting to this claim on the part of the State.

Abbott has been featured on television advertise passed last year’s state law to end the defunding of police departments, which imposes additional restrictions on bail.

Harris County has also been the focus of election-related events, including chosen at random for the election audit this fall, the secretary of state for the second year in a row, along with him not included 10,000 votes a night in the first election.

O’Rourke criticized the Republican election reform bill passed last year as a “voter suppression bill.” During last year’s legislative sessions, O’Rourke gathered together against election bills and raised money for state House Democrats to fly to Washington, D.C., to disrupt the quorum and delay the process.

Part of the law was increased scrutiny of vote-by-mail applications, leading to higher rejection rates by county election offices. O’Rourke criticized that saying“Instead of Abbott’s extreme, anti-democratic voter suppression agenda, we should embrace online and same-day voter registration, reduce barriers to voting by mail, and expand Texans’ access to the polls.”

While Houston and Harris County may not be mentioned by name in the debate, on these two issues in particular, the state’s largest city and county loom larger than any other.

The pageant starts on Friday at 7pm and will be broadcast and broadcast in every county in the state.

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