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Greg Abbott ad about 'too liberal' Lupe Valdez looks mostly factual

By W. Gardner Selby May 10, 2018

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s fresh ad critical of Democratic candidate Lupe Valdez mostly has factual footing, it looks to us, though the ad’s punch line, that Valdez is "too liberal for Texas," is an opinion and not a factual claim that we’d tackle.

Abbott’s camp made its ad public on May 10, 2018, the day before Valdez and the other remaining Democratic contender, Andrew White, were scheduled to debate at an Austin church in advance of a May 22 runoff to determine the Democratic gubernatorial nominee.

Factual claims in Abbott's ad

Let’s review the Abbott commercial’s factual elements.

Sanctuary cities law

The 30-second spot opens with the narrator noting that Abbott, who seeks his second term as governor this year, signed into law an anti-sanctuary-cities measure to ban communities from protecting from deportation any individuals living in the living country without legal permission.

Abbott signed Senate Bill 4 into law on May 7, 2017.

Next, the ad’s narrator says Valdez, who stepped down as Dallas County sheriff to run for governor in early 2018, "has promised to eviscerate that ban."

That’s right. An April 2018 Texas Tribune news story quoted Abbott asserting that Valdez, if elected governor, would "eviscerate" the state ban on sanctuary cities.

According to the story, Valdez fired back with a statement saying it's "back to business as usual with Greg Abbott spewing his fear-based open borders nonsense." Valdez’s statement went on: "I've spent 42 years working in law enforcement, working to keep Americans safe, I know what smart security looks like and this isn't it. Demonizing immigrants, and spreading fear and hatred is exactly the wrong approach."

As for the sanctuary cities law, Valdez said then: "You can bet this military veteran, former federal agent and four-term Sheriff of Dallas County is going to eviscerate SB 4."

Planned Parenthood

The Abbott ad’s narrator says next that Abbott "defunded Planned Parenthood and has signed legislation making Texas one of the most pro-life states in the nation."

That’s not entirely so. Abbott’s predecessor, Rick Perry, signed the key legislation into law in 2011 intended to cut off Planned Parenthood from government aid in Texas, as we noted in a 2015 fact-check.

For his part, Abbott in 2017 signed measures into law requiring a woman to pay a separate health insurance premium to get coverage for non-emergency abortions and banning second trimester dilation and evacuation abortions, the Tribune noted in a January 2018 news story.

Valdez, the ad’s narrator says, wants to reverse such actions. The ad points to a January 2018 news story in the San Antonio Express-News quoting Valdez saying: "My partner is a very strong, independent chiropractor. For me to try to tell her what she should do with her body, she would tell me what to do with my mouth."

Valdez separately says on her campaign website "we must stop the endless assault on women’s health and truly invest in women’s health to improve outcomes."


Abbott’s ad says Abbott has protected Texas from Obamacare while Valdez would expand Obamacare.

On her campaign website, Valdez disagrees with Abbott’s refusal to support Texas expanding access to Medicaid as permitted by the 2010 Obamacare law. Valdez says: "By foolishly rejecting Medicaid expansion, Governor Abbott and Austin Republicans are leaving billions of Federal dollars on the table and nearly 1.5 million Texans without access to health care. As Governor, I would immediately push the state to accept Medicaid expansion and take advantage of this opportunity to insure more people and improve health outcomes."

Abbott’s ad ends with the narrator opining: "Lupe Valdez, too liberal for Texas."

What else?

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Our Sources

Video ad, "Lupe Valdez: Too Liberal for Texas," Greg Abbott campaign, May 10, 2018 (YouTube video)

News story, "Gov. Greg Abbott signs SB 4: 'Texas has now banned sanctuary cities,'" Austin American-Statesman, posted online May 7, 2017

Enrolled (final) version of Senate Bill 4 and actions including signing into law, 2017 regular legislative session, Texas Legislature (accessed May 10, 2018)

News stories, Texas Tribune, "Texas Gov. Greg Abbott rallies anti-abortion advocates at the Texas Capitol," Jan. 27, 2018; "Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vows to challenge Lupe Valdez on border issues,"  April 17, 2018

Fact-check, "Greg Abbott lacks data tying Texas actions to drops in abortions, unintended pregnancies," PolitiFact Texas, Sept. 15, 2015

News story, "Democrats’ abortion debate: Can a ‘personally pro-life’ man be a contender?," San Antonio Express-News, Jan. 21, 2018

Web page, "Health Care,"  Lupe Valdez campaign website, undated (accessed May 10, 2018)

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Greg Abbott ad about 'too liberal' Lupe Valdez looks mostly factual