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Abbott, Davis both use attack ads ahead of Friday debate

Candidates will face off in closed studio in Edinburg at 6 p.m.

EDINBURG, Texas – The latest television advertisements being run in the Texas governor's race show both candidates attacking each other ahead of Friday's debate in the Rio Grande Valley.

Attorney General Greg Abbott has not been hard-hitting in his television advertising up until now.

In a recent spot, he brought out his mother-in-law to sing his praises. In another, he showed how he worked out in a parking garage to rebuild his body after an accident left him unable to walk.

But his latest ad goes for the jugular.

"Wendy Davis is embroiled in scandal, yet again," the announcer said in the ad. "As a state senator, Davis used her influence to win lucrative taxpayer-funded contracts."

The ad accused Democrat Wendy Davis of personally profiting from her job as a senator.

Davis has always been on the attack. Her latest ad accuses Abbott of protecting a hospital with a bad surgeon.

"Using his office to go to court, against the victims," the announcer said. "Greg Abbott. Another insider. Not working for you."

Attack ads are traditionally used by the underdog in races, but not solely the underdog.

The latest polls show Abbott leading Davis by just eight points after an earlier double digit lead.

Issues, rather than attacks, may be more prominent in Friday's debate in the Rio Grande Valley.

Dr. Sharon Navarro, a UTSA political science professor, said people in the Rio Grande Valley have issues similar to Texans elsewhere.

"Issues such as immigration, education and jobs and access to health care are primarily important, as with any group," Navarro said.

The debate will be the first of two scheduled debates between the candidates before November's election.

While it will occur in an area that has a large Hispanic population that votes mostly Democratic, Navarro said Texas as a whole may not be even half Democratic anytime soon.

"Maybe 15 or 20 years, it's hard to say," Navarro said.

The Abbott-Davis debate is set for 6 p.m. on Friday in Edinburg.