TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – After winning a third term, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said he continues to focus on economic growth in Texas.
“It starts with keeping Texas as the number one state for the best economy in America and the number one state for jobs,” Abbott said. “We must fight Joe Biden’s war on oil and gas and keep Texas number one in oil and gas production in the United States of America.”
Abbott beat Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke by 11 percentage points, 55% to 44%.
During a speech to supporters in McAllen on Tuesday night, he turned his attention to the state’s next legislative session which begins in January.
He advocated for the choice of school and to continue his efforts to secure the border.
The Governor reiterated his electoral promise to reduce the property tax.
“We need to tap into our $27 billion surplus and use it to provide our homeowners with the biggest property tax cut in Texas history,” Abbott said.
During the campaign, O’Rourke lobbied for increased restrictions on the sale of guns after the deadly shooting at a school in Uvalde last May.
He also lobbied for reproductive rights after new state law banned most abortions.
Dr. Joshua Blank, research director at the Texas Politics Project at UT Austin, said Abbott’s message resonated more with voters.
“The issues that voters consistently brought up were the border and inflation, and then largely due to the effectiveness of many Republican campaigns, public safety started to increase as we got closer to Election Day” , said Blank.
Blank said O’Rourke faces a tough climb, in part because of President Biden’s unpopularity in Texas, “There’s not much he can do in an environment that will always be difficult for any Democrat, even as a well-known and well-resourced Democrat like Beto O’Rourke given the fact that a Democrat in the White House with economic concerns.”
O’Rourke told supporters in El Paso on Tuesday night that even though he and his vision didn’t win, he still hopes it will be realized at some point.
“We just want a state where people are free enough and healthy enough to be able to pursue their potential and fulfill their true promise,” O’Rourke said. “A state where we are not defined or divided by our differences but find common interest for the common good. I don’t know what form that will take. I don’t know what my role or yours will be at the future, but I am in this fight for life.”
O’Rourke has raised more money than Governor Abbott this year.
But despite a well-funded campaign and statewide name recognition, O’Rourke didn’t win as many votes as former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, the Democrat who challenged Abbott in 2018 that had neither statewide name recognition nor adequate fundraising.
Valdez won 3,546,615 votes, while O’Rourke got 3,527,748, a difference of 18,867.
Governor Abbott won 4,424,776 votes, a record amount for a Texas governor.
But he didn’t receive the most votes on election night in Texas.
Incumbent Republican state Supreme Court Justice Rebeca Huddle won the most votes, 4,518,207.
Seven other Republican lawmakers statewide received more votes than Abbott.
In the race for lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick won 4,305,731 votes, beating Mike Collier by 11 percentage points, 54% to 43%.
Attorney General Ken Paxton received 4,267,081 votes, beating Rochelle Garza by nine percentage points, 53% to 44%.
Paxton warned Plano fans Tuesday night not to let their guard down: “The fight isn’t over. They’re gonna keep chasing me. They’re gonna keep chasing after Texas. They’re gonna keep coming after Republicans in the country and we can’t let them win.”
In Houston, Garza said Democrats shouldn’t give up, “Texas is worth investing in. And there’s momentum and support for the issues we’ve focused this campaign on.”
During his campaign, Garza has been highly critical of Paxton’s legal troubles, much as his Republican opponents did in the primary earlier this year.
He faces trial on 2015 state criminal fraud charges and separate corruption allegations made by former top lieutenants in his office.
Paxton has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in either case.
Blank said if Democrats made ethics an issue, it didn’t matter to most voters.
“The idea was that this race might be a little different from the others, but ultimately it was more of an idea than a reality,” Blank said. “Rochelle Garza, at the end of the day, however attractive a candidate she may have been, was still a Democratic candidate in Texas who started the race without name recognition.”
While the governor has won Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties, his margins of victory there have all shrunk from 2018, and he’s lost by a bigger margin in Dallas County than four years ago. year.
Governor Abbott’s campaign team told reporters Wednesday morning that it still has work to do to bolster its infrastructure and support in suburban counties.
While Republicans have made gains in South Texas and said they want to build on that, the population there is much smaller than major metropolitan areas like North Texas.
Dallas has become more Democratic this year.
Tarrant County is Republican, but Joshua Blank said he thought it remained competitive, “It certainly depends on who’s ahead of the ticket, but it also depends on the general environment.”