MCALLEN, Texas — Greg Abbott officially announced his plan to run for a third term as Texas governor Saturday in the Rio Grande Valley.
The Republican incumbent chose McAllen to kick off his campaign as he courts the Hispanic vote, the Texas Tribune reported. Abbott won 44% of the Hispanic vote in his 2014 campaign and 42% in 2018, according to exit polls.
While speaking to a few hundred people, Abbott highlighted efforts to attract new businesses to Texas during the two-year COVID-19 pandemic.
“Despite the unprecedented challenges that we’ve faced, Texas has persevered. Now more businesses are moving here, and more Texans are working here than ever before," Abbott said.
According to his campaign, Texas welcomed the headquarters of 73 new businesses -- an all-time record -- bringing "thousands of high paying jobs" to the Lone Star State.
Abbott also emphasized his crackdown on the Texas border.
Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke said Abbott "should trust border communities to make their own decisions in their backyard."
"Everything Abbott has meddled with for his own political gain has failed. Look no further than ... the Texas National Guard deployed for Operation Lonestar," O'Rourke said in an email, referring to recent reports of suicides and pay issues among the National Guardsmen that Abbott has sent to the border.
The governor is planning 60 campaign stops and a statewide media blitz before the March 1 Republican Primary.
O'Rourke wants to visit all 254 counties like he did during his 2018 U.S. Senate campaign and has hit over two dozen since launching his latest campaign in November.
Before Abbott faces off with O'Rourke, who faces minimal opposition in the Democratic primary, Abbott has to get through a nominating contest that features several critics on his right, including former state Sen. Don Huffines of Dallas and former Texas GOP chair Allen West. Abbott has publicly ignored his primary challengers, and his campaign insists that everything it is planning is focused on the general election.
This story is from our partners at the Texas Tribune. Read more here.