HOUSTON (AP) — Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is again his party’s nominee after a commanding win over a band of challengers from the far right, including Allen West — a former Florida congressman.
Abbott is running for a third term. The fact the 64-year-old governor even drew primary challengers underscored his disapproval within the GOP’s activist wing.
West, who moved to suburban Dallas after serving one term in Congress as a tea party firebrand in Florida, stepped down as chairman of the Texas GOP to run for governor. He and other challengers had bet that anger within the party’s grassroots over Abbott’s handling of the pandemic — including a mask mandate in 2020 — could catapult their long shot candidacies.
But Abbott, who had former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, all but ignored them. He enters the general election with more than $50 million to spend, a formidable campaign account that ranks among the largest of any governor in the country.
EL PASO (AP) — Democrats have officially made Beto O’Rourke their nominee for Texas governor and latest hope of ending decades of losses in the nation’s biggest red state.
O’Rourke had no serious primary competition and has spent the early months of his campaign trying to regain his footing in Texas after his run for president in 2020 soured some of his supporters back home.
No Democrat has won statewide office in Texas in nearly 30 years. O’Rourke came close in 2018 when his narrow loss for a U.S. Senate seat made him a party phenomenon. But that energy didn’t last after joining a crowded field of Democrats vying the White House.
So far, O’Rourke has shown he can still quickly raise millions of dollars and draw a crowd. But he has also been pressed on liberal positions he took during his run for president, none more famous than his “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15.”
Last month, O’Rourke said during a campaign stop in East Texas that he “wasn’t interested in taking anything away from anyone” but has continued to say assault weapons shouldn’t be on the streets.