Abbott wins re-election, O’Rourke falls short

Texas Governor Election Results

Abbott, a two-term Republican governor, prevailed against Democrat Beto O’Rourke in a closely watched battle for the state’s top job. He promised to continue lowering crime and property taxes, defending the oil industry and protecting the U.S.-Mexico border.

O’Rourke, a former Congressman and failed 2020 presidential candidate, had sought to become the first Democrat to win a statewide race in Texas in 30 years.

Greg Abbott wins re-election

The Texas governor brushed off a concerted challenge from a former congressman and dashed Democratic hopes of retaking the state’s top job for the first time in decades.

Abbott won a third term over Beto O’Rourke, who capitalized on an anti-establishment mood that was sparked by the typhoon-triggered economic collapse in 2021, the deadliest school shooting in state history and a power-grid failure that left millions in the dark.

The Republican incumbent spent huge sums to keep his lead over the Democrat, who used his enormous campaign warches to mount a relentless attack on the governor’s record and reputation. He stoked anxieties about immigration and promised to make a harder push to secure the state’s borders. But he was reluctant to embrace some causes that appeal to progressive voters, such as a rape or incest exception to the state’s near-total abortion ban. He’ll also face intraparty pressure over his stances. He could be a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2024.

Beto O’Rourke wins re-election

As he addressed his supporters in the courtyard of a popular millennial watering hole, Beto O’Rourke spoke to the challenges that face Texans of his generation. “We have a choice to build a future for our children that is based on opportunity, equality and fairness,” he said.

The former congressman from El Paso, who was seeking his first term as governor, had been the target of huge sums from a new political action committee that refused to disclose its donors. The group, called Coulda Been Worse LLC, launched blistering ads attacking O’Rourke for liberal positions he took in the Democratic presidential primary that turned off many Texans.

Abbott brushed off the criticism and won re-election by a wide margin. He carried the state’s urban centers, including Travis County, home to Austin; Dallas; Harris; and Bexar counties, which include the city of San Antonio. He also won heavily Republican rural counties, such as Hays County, the rapidly growing county in South Central that is the home of Texas State University.

Ken Paxton wins re-election

Despite legal baggage, Republican Ken Paxton won re-election for attorney general. Paxton defeated Democrat Rochelle Garza to win his third term in office. Paxton entered the election with heavy legal baggage, owing to state securities fraud charges and an FBI investigation into whether his own staff was abusing their positions.

Nevertheless, he won the election, though his margin was much narrower than that of other GOP statewide candidates. Paxton has vehemently denied wrongdoing, arguing that a 374-page report from his own agency cleared him of all allegations.

Garza was able to keep the race close, as she campaigned on her opposition to Paxton’s immigration policies and efforts to fight federal overreach. She also criticized his support for the state’s abortion ban and his involvement in a lawsuit filed by a wealthy donor. She called for a more “independent and robust” attorney general. Mark Ash, a Libertarian candidate for the position, endorsed her. He garnered almost 3% of the vote.

Wendy Davis wins re-election

Ten years after becoming a national figure by standing for 13 hours in the Texas Senate to filibuster a restrictive abortion bill, Wendy Davis will return to the state Capitol. But this time, it will be in a different role: senior adviser to Planned Parenthood Texas Votes.

She shattered fundraising and volunteer recruitment records in her bid for governor and will continue fighting for women’s reproductive rights, which are at an all-time low in the state of Texas. She’ll be joined by Shellie Hayes-McMahon and Drucilla Tigner, who will serve as co-executive directors of the political arm of the organization.

She’s a popular draw for Democrats, having raised $43 million in her gubernatorial campaign and millions more during her failed Senate run. She also founded Deeds Not Words, a nonprofit that teaches civic engagement to young women. She’s also an author, having written her memoir, Forgetting to Be Afraid. A Fort Worth native, she grew up poor and worked hard to earn a law degree from Harvard.

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