MCALLEN, Texas — Republican incumbent Greg Abbott will soon begin his third term as governor of Texas after defeating Democrat Beto O’Rourke in the Nov. 8 election, according to multiple network projections.
The projections come as the Texas Supreme Court ruled Tuesday evening that provisional votes in Harris County should be separated and not counted, for now. A judge in the area ruled earlier in the evening that Harris County voting locations could stay open an extra hour due to issues reported earlier in the day.
Abbott celebrated his win with a speech around 10 p.m. at the Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center in McAllen.
"We started this campaign in South Texas. We celebrated our primary victory in South Texas," he said in a press release announcing his victory. "Tonight, we return to South Texas to celebrate re-election for four more years of conservative governance.”
"I ran this campaign for the Texans who want safer streets. For the homeowners burdened with skyrocketing property taxes," Abbott continued. "For the oil field workers who begged me to protect their livelihoods. For parents who want to choose the school that’s best for their child. For the ranchers and residents who pleaded for a secure border."
The race has been a heated one. Abbott’s campaign has focused on conservative wins for border security and the economy, while O’Rourke’s campaign has targeted Abbott’s response to the Uvalde school shooting and the February 2021 power grid failure, as well as the state’s abortion law.
Who is Greg Abbott?
Incumbent Greg Abbott was elected as the 48th governor of Texas in 2014 and assumed office in 2015. Prior to that, he was the 50th and longest-serving Texas Attorney General, a position he held from 2002 until 2015. He also previously served as a justice on the Texas Supreme Court for several years and as a state district judge in Harris County.
Abbott is a native Texan who was born in Wichita Falls and raised in Duncanville. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, he earned a law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School.
According to his campaign website, Abbott’s primary issues include growing the Texas economy, defending the Second Amendment, protecting religious freedom, supporting law enforcement and securing the Texas-Mexico border, among other things.
Who is Beto O’Rourke?
Beto O’Rourke, who was born and raised in El Paso, served as a member of the El Paso City Council for several years and as a U.S. Representative for the El Paso area from 2013 until 2019. In 2018, O’Rourke ran for U.S. Senate against Republican Ted Cruz and lost. In March 2019, O’Rourke announced his candidacy in the 2020 presidential election but ended his campaign eight months later.
O’Rourke also founded and currently leads Powered by People, an organization that “works to expand democracy and produce Democratic victories through voter registration and direct voter engagement,” according to his campaign website.
His website also states that his primary issues include power grid stability, affordable health care, high-quality jobs, reproductive health and rural investment, among other things.
Background on the 2022 race for Texas governor
As Abbott sought to convince voters to elect him for a third term, he touted a long list of major conservative accomplishments during his tenure, from a complete ban on abortion to allowing Texans to carry firearms without a permit. However, the aftermath of the Uvalde school shooting has continued to drag down Abbott’s approval ratings, as evidenced in the “Texas Decides” poll conducted by TEGNA stations in early October.
As for O’Rourke, who sought to convince voters to make him the state’s first Democratic governor in 27 years, he scored some fundraising wins over Abbott, but continued to trail him in the polls. The Texas Tribune reported last week that O’Rourke outraised Abbott for a third consecutive time in October – but a Texas Politics Project poll saw Abbott widen his lead over O’Rourke just days ahead of the start of early voting.
Abbott will begin his third term in January.
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