Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, R, has secured a third term. His victory over former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D, solidifies his dominance over Texas politics in a state many Democrats hoped to turn blue or at least purple.
Immigration and abortion rights were front and center during this race. Abbott had come under sharp criticism from the left for his southern border policies. But a Siena College poll revealed Texans largely supported his actions. Texas voters approved of Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, which put thousands of National Guard troops on the border, by a 58%-35% margin. A majority of Texans, 52%, also favored Abbott busing immigrants to cities like New York and Washington, D.C.
Abbott also touted himself as a fierce advocate and protector of unborn children. But it’s less clear he had as much public support for his pro-life policies. The governor pushed through a bill that made it illegal to perform an abortion after a heartbeat was detected. While there was an exception for medical emergencies, there were no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. The Siena poll that found support for his immigration policies also revealed that a majority of Texans disagreed with the the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturing Roe v. Wade and strongly opposed a Texas trigger law, 64%-31%, which made it a felony to perform an abortion with a possible penalty of life in prison.
O’Rourke made gun control a cornerstone of his campaign. He called for a repeal of Abbott’s permitless carry bill, an assault weapons ban, red flag laws and universal background checks. O’Rourke received support from some Uvalde parents who appeared in campaign commercials for him. He also confronted Gov. Abbott during a press conference in Uvalde in the wake of the school shooting that left 21 people dead, including 19 students.
O’Rourke is a former congressman representing El Paso. He received endorsements from celebrities including Willie Nelson and Harry Styles. This was his third major campaign after losing his race for Senate in 2018 and Democratic Presidential Primary bid in 2020.