Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will face Democratic former Congressman Beto O’Rourke in the November general election for governor after the pair won their respective primaries.
Abbott, who received endorsement from former President Donald Trump and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, easily won his party’s nomination for governor, as did O’Rourke, the state’s most prominent Democrat, who is seeking to become the first Democratic governor of Texas in nearly three decades.
According to a race call from The Associated Press (AP), Abbott topped the 50 percent mark he needed to prevent a runoff, paving the way for him to seek a third term in office.
Other gubernatorial candidates included businessman Don Huffines, who issued a statement conceding defeat to the governor before projected results were released, conservative commentator Chad Prather, and former chairman of the Texas GOP Allen West.
The race was called by the AP shortly after 8 p.m. local time, with the Republican governor holding nearly 70 percent of the vote with more than 40 percent of ballots tallied.
O’Rourke addressed his supporters in Fort Worth, where he flipped Texas’s largest red county while running against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018.
“This group of people, and then some, are going to make me the first Democrat to be governor of the state of Texas since 1994,” he said. “This is on us. This is on all of us.”
It marked the first primary of the 2022 campaign.
O’Rourke announced his run for Texas governor on Nov. 15, 2021, saying that he wants to ensure the state has a governor “that serves everyone, helps to bring this state together to do the really big things before us and get past the small, divisive politics and policies of Greg Abbott.”
“It is time for change,” he said in an interview with The Texas Tribune.
O’Rourke also launched a 2020 presidential bid, but dropped out before primaries began.
His campaign video criticized Abbott’s “extremist policies around abortion, or permitless carry, or even in our schools,” claiming those policies only divide Texans and prevent Texans from working together on the “truly big things.”
Abbott responded on his Twitter account at the time that O’Rourke wants to “impose socialism.” Abbott said O’Rourke would defund the police, kill good-paying oil and gas jobs, allow open border policies, support President Joe Biden’s policies, and “take your guns.”
“From Beto O’Rourke’s reckless calls to defund the police to his dangerous support of the Biden Administration’s pro-open border policies, which have resulted in thousands of fentanyl deaths, Beto O’Rourke has demonstrated he has more in common with President Biden than he does with Texans,” Abbott campaign spokesperson Mark Miner said in a statement. “The last thing Texans need is President Biden’s radical liberal agenda coming to Texas under the guise of Beto O’Rourke.”
The pair will now face off for the position in the Nov. 8 election.
Harry Lee and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times