East Texas voters react to Texas state governor’s debate

TYLER, Texas (KETK)- Texas State Governor Greg Abbott and Beto O’Rourke have been campaigning for months.

On Friday, they faced off on stage in an exclusive debate on KETK News. Watch parties were hosted by the Smith County Republican and Democratic parties.

Some of the key points East Texas conservatives uncovered were crucial as Friday’s debate took center stage over the Rio Grande Valley, the immigration crisis, border security and security schools.

East Texas Republicans say Governor Abbott’s actions on the border have been successful because Texas should not be responsible for border security.

“This is a federal government problem and the current administration has not done its job. Because of that, he was forced to set it up. When you look at the numbers before when we had a Republican president, we didn’t have people crossing the border like we do now. It’s quadrupled,” Smith County Republican Party Chairman David Stein said.

While conservatives believe former Congressman O’Rourke is lenient on immigration, he has set his priorities on the U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.

“The women around me really want as much education as possible, even in this area. A lot of misinformation flowed from this decision. It’s up to the United States to decide…it doesn’t completely abolish abortion,” said Heather Stoner, Smith County GOP constituency chairwoman.

On the other hand, East Texas Democrats believe the decision on Roe v. Wade needs to be changed immediately citing women’s health and choice as a top priority.

“What a woman decides to do in regards to abortion is between her and her maker, her doctor, her conscience and I believe that too. But it all comes down to the reproductive act of who is the person who is supposed to be able to tell a woman/man what to do with their body anatomy. O’Rourke seems to think no one should do that,” said Smith County Democratic Party Chairman Hector Garza.

The election takes place on November 8 and early voting begins on October 24. O’Rourke trails Abbott in the polls by single-digit margins.

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