Abbott emphasizes UT roots as he wraps up first leg of gubernatorial campaign

Former University of Texas quarterback Colt McCoy introduced Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to a sweaty throng of several hundred supporters at Scholz Garten on Thursday evening – the last stop on a five-day, 10-city gubernatorial campaign kickoff tour – saying it’s time for a change.

“It’s been way too long since we had a Longhorn in the Governor’s Mansion,” said McCoy, who bumped Abbott’s 16-year-old daughter, Audrey, from her usual responsibilities introducing her father. She instead introduced McCoy – “a hero of mine” – who, after quick remarks had to leave to catch a 7 p.m. plane to NFL training camp. He is now with the San Francisco 49ers.

Abbott, a UT graduate, is campaigning to succeed Rick Perry, a staunch Aggie, who announced a week ago Monday that he isn’t going to seek another term a governor.

The appearance at Scholz, a venerable Austin institution a few blocks from the Capitol, was the last stop on sweep across the state that began Sunday in San Antonio with Abbott’s announcement that he was running for governor. His stops have included visits to three communities where he grew up — Wichita Falls, Longview and Duncanville.

“We’ve had a tremendous five days as we’ve crisscrossed the state,” Abbott said. “From the Rio Grande to the Red River, from the Piney Woods in East Texas all the way over to El Paso, Texas, earlier today, we’ve shaken thousands of hands and seen in the eyes of our fellow Texans exactly what I see here today, exactly what I see across this state and across the country, and that is a yearning for the liberty that we were all guaranteed by the United States Constitution.”

Abbott noted that his trip included two stops along the Mexican border – in McAllen and El Paso – “and I’ll tell you, the people on the border are very concerned by the spillover activities from the drug cartels, and you ask yourself the question, `How is it that we live in a state that will stop a valedictorian from mentioning God during a graduation ceremony and cannot stop the drug cartels from crossing our border?’ Well, as your governor I will put a stop to that, and I will enforce the rule of law.”

Abbott, an avid tweeter, also participated in a Twitter town hall Wednesday, and an exchange of tweets — in Spanish — with Battleground Texas, the newborn effort to revive Democratic fortunes in Texas, a Democratic effort that would depend on harnessing the power of the state’s growing Hispanic population, which trends Democratic but suffers from very low levels of political participation.

“¿Cómo planea comunicarse con la comunidad Latina?” — how do you plan on communicating with the Latino community? — Battleground Texas tweeted at Abbott. “Mi esposa es Latina. Y podré comunicarme con todos los votantes,” Abbott tweeted back, explaining his wife is Latina, and he can communicate with all voters.

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