“Tonight, Republicans sent a message. They want to keep Texas on the extraordinary path of opportunity that we have provided over the past eight years,” said the governor.
Around 8:00 p.m., Decision Desk HQ called the GOP governor’s race for Abbott with the incumbent at 68 percent.
Abbott fended off a bevy of primary challengers — the three most notable of which were former Texas GOP Chair Allen West, former state Sen. Don Huffines, and BlazeTV host Chad Prather — and now moves on to his heavyweight general election matchup with Democrat Beto O’Rourke.
According to unofficial results, those challengers amassed less than 30 percent collectively — West and Huffines jockeying for second place around 11 percent. Prather and Rick Perry, not the former governor, are neck and neck for fourth place each around 3 percent.
They fell about 20 points shy of forcing Abbott into a runoff.
Huffines threw in the towel shortly after some early voting returns came in, but he declared victory on the issues.
“When I entered the race, Greg Abbott opposed the border wall, was silent on sex-change surgeries for kids, allowed CRT in Texas classrooms and agencies, and even refused to stop vaccine mandates,” he said in a statement. “Our campaign forced him to address each of these issues and deliver outcomes that will help everyday Texans.”
“Last month, I celebrated my 61st birthday. And to think that a kid who was born 61 years ago at a blacks-only hospital could be sitting here running to be the next governor of the State of Texas, that’s what makes America great,” West told The Texan in an interview.
Prather, Huffines, and West jumped into the race — in that order — after the 2020 pandemic shutdowns caused by state and local orders.
Abbott was seldom to even acknowledge his opponents but their existence drove at least a few adjustments by the incumbent. The governor spent twice that of his next-highest spending challenger, Huffines, and 16-times more than West.
The governor’s fundraising prowess was on full display during the primary, pulling in $45 million as of the pre-primary filing period.
Abbott was among the Texas endorsements by former president Donald Trump, something his challengers hoped to receive but missed out on.
Now as the general election begins, Abbott will begin reorienting his campaign to focus on issues not just important to the GOP primary voters. During the primary, Abbott laid out a plan for adjusting the property tax system, indicated the 88th legislative session will see a formidable push for school choice, and touted the state’s border wall construction.
But O’Rourke has been hammering Abbott on the state’s power grid and the legislature’s reforms he says were lackluster. Abbott has continuously maintained that everything that could be done was done to fix the power grid.
According to The Texan’s Texas Partisan Index, the state rates as an R-54%, meaning Republicans are somewhat favored in statewide races.
In his 2018 election versus Democrat Lupe Valdez, Abbott won 55 percent of the vote.
With both Abbott and O’Rourke being prolific fundraisers, expect the state to be bombarded with campaign ads as the race is ripe to eclipse $100 million spent.
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Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.