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O’Rourke backs off gun control, slams Abbott on abortion

DENTON, Texas (NewsNation) — Texas Democratic candidate for governor Beto O’Rourke hit the campaign trail Wednesday with a stop at a town hall in Denton.

O’Rourke is going head-to-head with incumbent Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, and the two disagree on just about every major issue.

With just nine weeks until the election, Abbott still leads O’Rourke by seven points in the polls. 

O’Rourke and Abbott have sparred for months, notably on the issue of gun control after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. But now, O’Rourke seems to be shifting his campaign’s central message to abortion.

The Democratic hopeful released an ad targeting Abbott and his strict stance on the procedure.

“Every Texan needs to know what Greg Abbott has done to the women of this state. Share our new ad, and join us in defeating him,” his campaign wrote on Twitter.

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O’Rourke’s attacks on Abbott’s abortion position come on the heels of Abbott claiming rape victims in the state can prevent pregnancies by using emergency contraception pills such as Plan B, as reported by The Dallas Morning News on Friday.

O’Rourke on Wednesday did not mince words in responding.

“He’s going to kill them through his cruelty, his incompetence and his failure to see that what he’s doing is going to cost lives, not save them,” he said.

The underdog also touched on immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border.

It’s not likely O’Rourke will win over Texans on immigration reform and border issues in general. He’s been critical of Abbott’s “Operation Lone Star” and the governor’s decision to deploy 10,000 National Guard soldiers to the border.

In one small area where the two may be in agreement, O’Rourke said he would still keep soldiers deployed to the border but only those who volunteer and not as many as 10,000.