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Gov. Abbott accepts sheriffs' endorsements in San Antonio

The Bexar County Deputy Sheriff's Association hosted the event. Sheriff Javier Salazar, a Democrat, did not attend.

SAN ANTONIO — Dozens of Texas sheriffs endorsed Gov. Greg Abbott's re-election campaign in San Antonio Tuesday. 

Lawmen from across the state gathered at the Bexar County Deputy Sheriff's Association for the event. There, Abbott touted new legislation that prevents municipalities from cutting police budgets and his response to unprecedented immigration challenges in 2021. 

"We need officials who are going to step up and have the back of our law enforcement officers," Abbott said. "One thing I know these Sheriffs and law enforcement officers know: they have a governor who has their back. Period."

The endorsements come as the governor tries to establish himself as the law enforcement's strongest ally. Abbott's Republican challengers have recently criticized the incumbent for his management of national guardsmen and women called in for support at the border. 

Abbott refuted their claims Tuesday. 

"You guys were overworked and understaffed," he told the sheriffs, again criticizing President Joe Biden's response to the surge of migrants. 

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, a Democrat, did not attend the event. Abbott largely deflected a question about Salazar's absence. 

"I'm proud to be here at the Bexar County sheriff's association headquarters, to be with the men and women who serve with the Bexar County sheriff's office - and to be endorsed by the men and women of the Bexar County Sheriff's office," he said. 

KENS 5 asked Salazar if he intends to endorse a candidate for governor. He did not respond before deadline.