Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Gov. Greg Abbott’s Democratic opponent in Texas’ 2022 gubernatorial race, has been vehemently critical of Abbott’s response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 24 — which claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers. And 25 News KXXV-TV, an ABC affiliate in Waco, may have given O’Rourke some more material to work with. According to an open-records request from 25 News, Abbott did not attend the funerals of any of the Uvalde victims.
25 News’ Nick Bradshaw reports that the station “obtained the governor's schedule from May 25 to June 14 through an open records request,” and that schedule shows that Abbott’s “last visit” to Uvalde was on June 5. According to Bradshaw, “The governor's schedule does show while in Uvalde, he did attend multiple public vigils, but no mentions of attending funerals.”
Interviewed by MSNBC on Monday, July 18, Democratic Texas State Sen. Roland Gutierrez said of Abbott, “I don't want this to sound like some political assault on him, but at the end of the day, he hasn't been there since Day 5, when the president came.... We had a failed response on giving resources to families. He did not go to one single funeral — and quite honestly, many of the families didn't want him there."
During a press conference on July 13, Angel Garza — the father of one of the Uvalde victims — was also critical of Abbott, saying, “Since this happened, Gov. Abbott has yet to reach out…. We've had Sen. Gutierrez in our living room, willing to come and talk to us. We've had Beto O'Rourke coming to our private meeting to fight with us. He marched with us. That means something to us. The fact that you're reaching out just to see how we're doing means something to us."
Polls are showing Abbott ahead of O’Rourke in Texas’ gubernatorial race, although not by double digits. According to a University of Houston poll conducted from June 27 to July 7, Abbott is Ieading O’Rourke by 5 percent — which is similar to President Joe Biden’s performance in Texas in 2020’s presidential race, when former President Donald Trump carried the Lone Star State by about 6 percent. Although Texas is still a red state, Democrats have been making progress there; Republicans typically won statewide races by double digits in Texas during the 2000s.
A University of Texas poll conducted in June showed Abbott ahead of O’Rourke by 6 percent.
Bradshaw, on July 13, tweeted, “Family members from Uvalde say they are not hearing from some Texas Lawmakers. I was able to obtain @GovAbbott schedule, the last visit to Uvalde was when @POTUS came on May 29. He did attend public vigil, nothing on his schedule about funerals.”