FOX 26 rates Hidalgo attack ad: 'Mostly B.S.'

Front and center in the race to lead Harris County is a "messaging battle."

Judge Lina Hidalgo, in her bid for re-election, has publicly and repeatedly accused challenger Alexandra Mealer of backing the ban on nearly all abortions passed into law by the Texas Legislature.

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"It’s the extreme abortion law in the nation, Greg Abbott’s abortion ban and Alex Mealer supports it," says the narrator of Hidalgo's attack ad.

Unlike most claims in the spot, this inflammatory accusation against Mealer is unsourced and as it turns out, for good reason.

"There is nowhere in public that I've seen where Mealer has come out and said that she supports the trigger ban or that she supports anything related to the abortion law," said Rice political analyst Mark Jones.

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FOX 26 asked the Hidalgo campaign for evidence backing the claim at the core of the attack ad. No material directly substantiating the allegation was offered.

"It is certainly a misleading ad that is trying to imply that Mealer supports a law that Mealer has never said she supports, and she certainly wasn't a state legislator voting on it," said Jones.

And then there is the ominous warning predicated on the same unsubstantiated claim that Mealer supports the Texas trigger law.

"Now, Alex Mealer wants to take charge of our health system as Harris County Judge. Don't let her," says the spot's narrator.

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For the record, a spokesman for Harris Health confirmed to FOX 26 that the safety net hospital system has never performed elective abortions, and that includes every day Hidalgo has served in office.

Harris Health also confirmed the procedure continues to be a legal option, if the life of the mother is at risk. 

"The Hidalgo ad is mostly disingenuous. The County Judge in Texas has very limited powers and those powers have nothing to do whatsoever with abortion or really with health care policy altogether," said Jones.

Meantime, Mealer tells FOX 26 her opinion on re-productive health will remain private because "abortion policy" is simply outside the purview of the job she seeks. 

"Ed Emmett didn't have a big role with abortions when he was County Judge. I don't see myself as having one. All of this is a big distraction from the critical issues. And to be frank, the only issue between Hidalgo and I on this policy, as far as it impacts people in the County, is that she is trying to provide funding to transport people out of state to have abortions and I have said I will not do that," said Mealer.

In an unsuccessful attempt to establish that Mealer's alleged support of the abortion ban, the Hidalgo campaign claims the challenger contributed to one pro-life candidate and attended a meet-and-greet with two Republican state lawmakers who supported the restrictive law.


FOX 26 found that "guilt by association" evidence flimsy and has rated the Hidalgo ad "Mostly B.S."

Meantime, the Houston Chronicle Editorial Board announced Wednesday it has awarded its endorsement to Mealer.