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Lincoln Project Asks if Gov. Abbott Stopped Ad Critical Of Him From Broadcasting During Football Game

A screenshot of "Abbott's Wall" an advertisement from The Lincoln Project
Lincoln Project
A screenshot of "Abbott's Wall" an advertisement from The Lincoln Project

Updated 9/20 to reflect response from Gov. Greg Abbott's Campaign

The anti-Trump conservative activist groupThe Lincoln Project is implying that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott stopped the broadcast of an advertisement critical of his record dealing with COVID 19.

The ad — titled “Abbott’s Wall” — was scheduled to air nationally on The Longhorn Network during the University of Texas vs Rice game on Saturday.

A ticker on the advertisement counts off 3 million Texans sick with Covid resulting in now more than 60,000 residents dead.

It said the amount of lumber needed for that many coffins could build an 85 mile wall. The information is presented alongside the stark images of a wall of caskets.

Despite the organization paying $25,000 and clearing ESPN’s legal department, in a statement, the Lincoln Project said ESPN informed them 10 minutes before kickoff it would not air during the popular intrastate game.

“We were informed that the ad would not run. When asked why, we were told it was a University-made decision,” said the statement.

ESPN didn't dispute the description, instead declining to comment.

“Did Greg Abbott or his allies assert political influence to ensure the advertisement was not broadcast?” asks the statement.

The Governor's Office referred questions to his campaign, Texans For Greg Abbott which denied the accusations saying the Governor had "zero contact" on the issue.

"I'm saddened to hear the ad might have been pulled. I'd rather have them waste $25K on their stunt then pay off their past due mortgages or have excess funds to wine and dine more interns...," said David Carney, General Consultant, Texans For Greg Abbott.

The video is the third attacking the governor in two months. The Lincoln Project has vowed more would come

"Buckle Up," said a spokesman in an email to TPR after the last ad was released.

The Governor appointed all the current regents of the University system.

The University of Texas Austin has not replied to requests for comment.

The Lincoln Project said it would be filing an open records request with the state.

A screenshot of the an error message from the University of Texas Open Records Portal taken on Sunday 1:45 pm

The University of Texas open records portal was offline Sunday afternoon, but was working Monday.

Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org