Greg Abbott defeats Beto O'Rourke, wins third term as Texas governor
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has won re-election in Texas, defeating Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.
The governor spoke tonight at an election rally in McAllen, where the governor launched his re-election campaign.
"We planted our flag in South Texas, and we showed America that South Texas is now electing Republicans to office in our great state," said Abbott.
The governor called his win a "resounding victory" and promised to continue efforts to secure the Texas-Mexico border, among other things.
"I ran this campaign for Texans to have safer streets, for homeowners with skyrocketing property taxes, for parents who just want to choose the best school for their child," said Gov. Abbott. "I ran for the farmers and ranchers who pleaded for a more secure border. A resounding victory for my re-election, so now it's time to go to work for all those people, and it starts with keeping Texas the number one state for economy and jobs."
"Together we will keep Texas the greatest state, in the greatest country in the history of the world," he went on to say.
Abbott was first elected in 2014 to the position that Republicans have held in the state since 1995.
Abbott has also previously served as Attorney General of Texas, a Texas Supreme Court justice and a state district judge in Harris County.
Beto O’Rourke has lost three races in four years. Is his political career over?
The campaign is the third straight campaign loss for O'Rourke.
He lost a senate race to Ted Cruz in 2018 and fell short in the primaries during a Democratic presidential bid.
O'Rourke said he did not know what was next for him, but said he would not be giving up.
"I am in this fight for life," he told a crowd of his supporters in El Paso on Tuesday night.
During the only gubernatorial debate in September, Abbott defended his dramatic steps on the Texas border. He boasted about a $4 billion operation that has included migrant jails and buses to New York, Chicago and Washington and criticized President Joe Biden by name.
He did not say where Texas would next send buses that refocused the race on immigration but defended the destinations to some of the nation’s largest Democratic-led cities as practical and not political.
"There will be other cities in the future that also will be on the receiving end of migrants, because we will continue to have to move migrants because Joe Biden continues to allow more illegal immigrants to come into the state of Texas," Abbott said.
Former congressman and 2020 presidential candidate O’Rourke called the mission a failure and attacked Abbott over the number of migrant crossings remaining high despite the governor’s escalating mission over the past year.
"We are eight years into his time as governor, and this is what we have on our border," O’Rourke said.
During the debate, O’Rourke also accused Abbott of doing little to stop another massacre like the Uvalde elementary school shooting.
"It's been 18 weeks since their kids have been killed, and not a thing has changed in this state to make it any less likely that any other child will meet the same fate," said O'Rourke.
Uvalde families have put at the top of their demands raising the minimum age to purchase an AR-15-style rifle like the one used in the shooting from 18 to 21 years old.
Abbott said his hands were tied when it comes to altering the law on so-called assault weapons.
"It is unconstitutional for a state to raise the age from 18 to 21 for a person to buy an AR-15," Abbott said.
"No parent should lose a child and we want to do everything we can to make sure that doesn’t happen. We want to end school shootings," Abbott said of raising the age to purchase AR-15-style weapons. "’But we cannot do that by making false promises."
Abbott also doubled down on the current Texas ban on nearly all abortions.
In July 2021, Abbott signed the so-called "trigger law" which would ban all abortions from the moment of fertilization if the Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade, which happened this summer.
The law makes an exception only to save the life of a pregnant patient or prevent "substantial impairment of major bodily function," but makes no exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or severe fetal abnormalities.
Races to Watch:
- Dan Patrick elected to third term as Texas Lieutenant Governor
- Texas Attorney General: Ken Paxton holds off Rochelle Garza to win third term
- Clay Jenkins claims victory over Republican Lauren Davis in Dallas County Judge race
- Dallas voters approve $1.5B plan for new convention center, Fair Park renovations
- Denton votes to decriminalize small amounts marijuana
Abbott and O’Rourke both raised tens of millions of dollars for their campaigns. By mid-October, both candidates had surpassed more than $100 million in total money raised this year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.