Fort Worth mayoral candidate Deborah Peoples is downplaying the significance of an endorsement of her opponent, Mattie Parker, by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
The mayoral candidates face each other in a June 5 runoff to succeed long-time mayor Betsy Price.
“Gov. Abbott is the biggest enemy of voting rights in the country right now,” Peoples said on Twitter. “He just endorsed my opponent. This endorsement makes it clear that Mattie Parker will embrace Abbott’s divisiveness as mayor.”
Peoples describes herself as a “mother, business executive and progressive leader running for mayor to unite us.”
She came in first among the 10 candidates in the May 1 election, however, no candidate received more than 50% of the vote, prompting the runoff.
In endorsing Parker, Abbott cited her support of law enforcement, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
“I know that she will support our law enforcement and support law and order in Fort Worth, which I view as incredibly important,” Abbott said, according to the Star-Telegram. “And, I know from so many members of the business community that I talk to all the time in Fort Worth, that she’ll be great for business.”
The contest is non-partisan but Parker is a Republican and Peoples a Democrat, the story said. Abbott is also a Republican.
The governor said Peoples has made comments “along the lines of taking a position of defunding the police,” the Star-Telegram reported.
“She did not use those words, but talked about policing in a way that would potentially lead to a reduction in funding and support for law enforcement officers,” Abbott said, according to the publication.
Peoples said on her website that “it is critical that we have a properly funded police department with top-notch training.”
But she said Fort Worth leaders have “ignored the will of the voters who specifically voted for a half-cent tax increase to fund police training as well as intervention and prevention programs.”
Those types of programs can “prevent many potential safety issues before a police officer is called,” she said. “Unfortunately, our city has not allocated proper resources to these programs, which puts an unnecessarily heavy burden on our overextended police force.”