Earlier this week, Abbott tweeted a photo of a red, white and blue billboard, which thanked him “for supporting parental choice.” The governor has campaigned on letting parents decide where they want to send their children to school, be it public, private or charter.
“I'm running for re-election to ensure parents are the main decision-makers in their child's education,” he said in a tweet Tuesday.
But not everyone believes that Abbott has done enough for the state’s schools, especially when it comes to campus safety.
I'm running for re-election to ensure parents are the main decision-makers in their child's education. pic.twitter.com/o9AiL2BMVJ— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) August 9, 2022
The conservative politician faced harsh criticism following the Uvalde elementary school shooting in May, which claimed the lives of 19 children and two adults. Detractors argued that he failed to enact meaningful gun measures and that he continued to prioritize donors over Texas’ students and families.
Mothers Against Greg Abbott (note the ironic “MAGA” acronym) is among his most outspoken critics. The group claims to be composed of Democrats, moderate Republicans and independents who share the goal of booting Abbott from the governor’s mansion.
The anti-Abbott MAGA has released attack ads, with one targeting the state’s strict abortion ban. Now, they’ve revealed a new billboard campaign encouraging Texans to back Democrat Beto O’Rourke for governor.
The PAC’s billboards depict a girl carrying a backpack outside Robb Elementary School, the site of the Uvalde shooting. To the picture’s left, the group included a quote from one of Abbott's post-Uvalde press conferences: “It could have been worse.” To the photo’s right, it reads: “Stop School Gun Violence. VOTE BETO!”
The mothers announced the billboards in a tweet on Tuesday evening.
“Our first Billboards are up!” the group wrote. “It will continue to be worse and get worse if Greg Abbott wins. We know what Abbott's world like, it's time to ‘Take Texas Back’ democrats." #VoteBeto.”
Mothers Against Greg Abbott PAC's signs come in other sizes, too. Residents in North Texas and beyond have begun to plant the group's yard placards.
Our first Billboards are up! It will continue to be worse and get worse if Greg Abbott wins. We know what Abbott's world like, it's time to "Take Texas Back" democrats." #VoteBeto pic.twitter.com/ycd6WGRLYd— Mothers Against Greg Abbott PAC (@MomsAGAbbott) August 9, 2022
One such sign appears to be a response to the state GOP's recent book-banning efforts. It depicts a stick figure reading a book above the caption: “COME AND TAKE IT.”
Texas activist Olivia Julianna, who serves as the political strategist for Gen-Z for Change, has also condemned the governor via social media. The 19-year-old recently made headlines for raising more than $2 million for abortion funding following a social media spat with far-right Congressman Matt Gaetz.
In response to Abbott’s billboard tweet, Julianna pointed out that Abbott stayed at a campaign fundraiser for nearly three hours after the May 24 shooting, rather than canceling the event and heading straight for Uvalde.
“A lot of parents have made it clear they don’t want their kids to die in school but you won’t do anything about that … how exactly is that allowing them to make decisions?” she wrote. “19 kids. You stayed at a fundraiser for 3 hours. Just stop lying.”
A lot of parents have made it clear they don’t want their kids to die in school but you won’t do anything about that… how exactly is that allowing them to make decisions?— Olivia Julianna 🗳 (@0liviajulianna) August 9, 2022
19 kids. You stayed at a fundraiser for 3 hours. Just stop lying.