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Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday launched a two-minute TV ad featuring a family that survived the massacre last year at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.
The commercial tells the story of Julie and Kris Workman, the mother and son who were at the church in November 2017 when a gunman fatally shot 26 people there and wounded 20 others. In the ad, Julie Workman recalls how her son was shot in the back, leaving him paralyzed — and how Abbott, paralyzed himself in a 1984 accident, visited Kris Workman in the hospital.
"When I saw the governor in the wheelchair and I saw my son in that bed, I knew that my son’s future could be anything that he wanted it to be," Julie Workman says. "Here, the governor is in the wheelchair — and he’s our governor."
The mother goes on to praise Abbott's compassion in responding to the massacre, and the ad ends with Abbott and her son, now using a wheelchair, rolling forward together in front of American and Texas flags.
"Our lives aren't defined by our challenges — instead we get to define our lives by how we respond to those challenges," Abbott says in conclusion, a line he regularly uses to reflect on the 1984 accident, in which a tree fell on him while he was running.
Abbott's campaign said the ad "will air in every media market in Texas." It is part of an initial $800,000 buy by the campaign, which has reserved a total of $16 million in TV time this fall.
Abbott, a Republican who is seeking a second term, is being challenged by Democrat Lupe Valdez, the former Dallas County sheriff.