Greg Abbott defeats Beto O’Rourke to win third term

Gov. Greg Abbott secured a third term as Texas governor on Tuesday night after defeating challenger Beto O’Rourke in the state’s most expensive race of the cycle. 

Early results put Abbott ahead 12.5 points and 558,231 votes.

As of the latest reports, Abbott raised over $100 million during this cycle and spent $135 million with the help of previous funds in his coffers. 

O’Rourke, raised $73 million and spent nearly all of it.

Abbott has faced a tumultuous few years as the state’s top executive with numerous significant events occurring, such as a global pandemic, a power grid collapse, the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and the massacre at a Uvalde elementary school.

And on top of that, he drew the stiffest challenge of his gubernatorial career from the former El Paso congressman who pushed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to the brink four years ago. But in the end, O’Rourke’s campaign couldn’t outrun the prevailing headwinds at the national level nor statements made during his short-lived bid for president in 2020.

During his challenge, O’Rourke campaigned heavily on the abortion issue, becoming even more outspoken after Roe’s demise, along with providing a boon to education spending and heightening restrictions on gun ownership.

Abbott countered by touting Texas’ economic prowess relative to other states coming out of the pandemic, and tied his opponent to the Democrat in the White House as frequently as possible. O’Rourke’s previous statements on police defunding, gun confiscation, and abortion were also highlighted by the governor’s campaign.

While the race initially appeared Democrats’ best chance to flip the script on their 30-year absence from statewide office, the race didn’t turn out to be that close. RealClearPolitics’ polling average pegged Abbott’s lead in the upper single digits at the close of the race, a projection that came within X points of the result.

With the victory, Abbott’s sight now turns to the looming legislative session next year at which he has said he’ll pursue a massive property tax cut, some form of school choice, a pay raise for teachers, and finishing off the bail policy restriction that came up short last year.

O’Rourke, meanwhile, heads back into the wilderness, where he will either regroup and pursue office in the coming cycles or perhaps take a break from politics for a while after his third electoral failure.

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