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Governor Greg Abbott Defends His COVID-19 Response Amid Criticism From Challengers

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - At his first campaign stop in North Texas since kicking-off his bid for a third term, Governor Greg Abbott touted the state's fast-growing economy.

During the Saturday morning event at the Fort Worth Zoo, the Governor also warned his 350 supporters they need to fight back against any effort to defund the police and open border policies. "We are not going to allow these big government socialists to destroy our great state with their radical agenda."

While Abbott is focused on the general election in November, he is facing seven challengers in the Republican primary, some of whom said they got into the race because they didn't like how the Governor responded to the pandemic early-on.

They include former Texas GOP Chair Allen West, and former State Senator Don Huffines of Dallas who have repeatedly criticized the Governor for not fully reopening the state fast enough.

Asked how he responded to their criticisms, the Governor said, "Well for one, Texas was one of the first states to open fully, 100 percent, and you've seen the economic results articulated today. Texas is leading the nation with regard to the job recovery."

This week, the likely Democratic nominee for Governor, former El Paso Congressman Beto O'Rourke criticized the Governor's response to the pandemic, along with the Mayors of Austin and Brownsville who support him. "We need augmented staff and the Governor has the power to help deploy medical professionals to critical areas around the state and he's been very slow and late to do that."

The Governor responded by saying, "We have responded to every request for additional staffing needs. Right now, Texas has provided more than 5,000 staff for hospitals and we're going to be adding another one thousand over the coming week or two. There were no unmet needs as it concerned testing equipment."

The candidates will continue to ramp-up their campaigns as the March 1 primary draws closer.

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