HOUSTON - 48 days out from the midterm election and the messaging battle in the race for Harris County Judge is well underway.
Democratic incumbent Lina Hidalgo appears to be placing her chips on a controversial issue her office has no statutory authority to control, one way or the other.
"It's the most extreme abortion law in the nation, Greg Abbott's abortion ban, and Alex Mealer supports it," says the narrator of the political spot.
Mealer's campaign insists their candidate has taken no public position on a state and national policy, beyond the ability of a county chief executive to alter. Instead, Mealer continues to focus on the deadly erosion of Houston-area public safety.
"Record breaking homicides, murders. I think that is resonating. (Hidalgo) thinks she's running against Abbott or Trump, anybody but me, and I think with the severity of crime everyone wants to know, when you get in office what are you going to do about it? Clearly, the status quo is not working."
Mealer is also highlighting the "cloud of corruption" hanging over Hidalgo's administration and the felony indictment of three key aides, including the judge's chief of staff.
"You bid rig and your staff bid rigged, so that's a pledge I'll make, and I would love Lina to follow suit, that no one on my staff will ever be involved in selecting a contract vendor. That's a great way to take money out of the equation," said Mealer.
In response, FOX 26 heard from Hidalgo campaign spokesperson Toni Harrison.
"The County Judge's staff no longer participates in purchasing procurement. To further take money out of the equation, Judge Hidalgo does not accept contributions from those doing business with the county. While her opponent has accepted thousands from county vendors," said Harrison.