Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s reelection campaign heads to television this week with a biographical ad featuring his wife, Cecilia, discussing their marriage and the accident that put him in a wheelchair.
The statewide ad will run for two weeks, campaign aides said The Dallas Morning News. The purchase costs at least $3 million and is the opening salvo in a media campaign that could approach $100 million.
“It gives us the opportunity to begin the discussion and engagement with voters,” said Dave Carney, Abbott’s chief political strategist.
In the ad, Cecilia Abbott talks about meeting her husband at the University of Texas and marrying him in 1981. In 1984, Abbott was paralyzed from the waist down when an oak tree fell on him as he was jogging through a Houston neighborhood following a storm . He was 26 at the time.
“I learned what Greg Abbott was really made of when I saw how he responded to his paralyzing accident,” she says in the ad. “His recovery took months, but he never gave up.”
Cecilia Abbott goes on to say, “The joys of our marriage and adopting our daughter, Audrey, showed me the depths of his love and commitment.”
“Hard work, perseverance, and family,” she said to close out the spot. “That’s what defines Greg and how he governs Texas.”
Abbott, who is known as an aggressive campaigner, has been effective in his political career by producing biographical ads that reflect his struggle to succeed while using a wheelchair. His first campaign for governor featured the critically acclaimed ad “Garage.” Shot in Dallas, it featured Abbott rolling his wheelchair up an eight-story parking garage to build strength.
Carney said many Texans don’t realize that Abbott uses a wheelchair or adopted a daughter.
“It’s a reintroduction,” Carney said. “It shows more of the human side that people don’t see very often.”
Expect more ads to come in a race that could be the most expensive contest in Texas history. Combined spending could exceed $200 million.
O’Rourke has not aired a traditional television ad but is expected to join Abbott on the airwaves as the race heats up.