After trouncing Beto O’Rourke, Abbott was inaugurated Tuesday on the north lawn of the Texas Capitol.
In an interview with Fox News the night before he began his ninth year as governor, Abbott was asked if he was “ruling out” a campaign for the White House in 2024.
“I think a more accurate way to say it is it’s not something I’m ruling in right now. I’m focused on Texas, period,” Abbott said.
The governor also indicated that he is concentrating on the 88th Legislative Session and setting Texas on a positive trajectory for the coming decades.
His chief strategist, Dave Carney, also commented on the possibility in the media.
“What he’s always said is you know, when the session is over, he will take a look at the situation and see if there’s a need for his voice, his experience, to get into the fray,” Carney reportedly said. “But until then, we’re not going to New Hampshire or Iowa or South Carolina or the things that you’d want to do if you’re blindly ambitious to run.”
The chance of Abbott running for the Republican presidential nomination could imperil his relationship with former President Trump, who announced his presidential candidacy in November. Abbott received Trump’s endorsement in his 2022 reelection bid and he spoke at a Trump rally in Conroe in January last year.
Abbott made border security the center of his reelection campaign, and would likely spotlight the escalation of the illegal immigration crisis under the Biden administration if he challenged the incumbent next year.
The governor touted his Operation Lone Star in his inauguration speech on Tuesday, taking aim at Biden’s policies, which he contended disregards existing laws that need to be enforced. Abbott also pointed to the spike in fentanyl poisoning deaths.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Texas Senate, was also sworn in for a third term in office on Tuesday.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."