CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The AP projects that Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas won the Republican nomination on Tuesday as he runs for reelection this year in the nation’s second-most populous and largest state.
The governor’s primary victory sets him up for a November general election matchup against Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke. The former congressman from El Paso – who came close to ousting Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 Senate election before unsuccessfully running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination — faced nominal opposition in the Democratic primary and the AP projected O’Rourke’s victory minutes after the final polls closed in Texas.
The conservative governor, who’s seeking a third four-year term steering Texas, was facing multiple primary challenges from the right, including former state Sen. Don Huffine, former Texas GOP chair and former Rep. Allen West of Florida, and conservative commentator Chad Prather.
Abbott showcased his conservative record on border security, abortion restrictions, crime, election integrity and other issues that along with border security are top of mind with GOP voters, as he crisscrossed the state on an extensive campaign swing that wrapped up Monday evening in San Antonio,
And the governor reminded primary voters that he’s backed by former President Trump, who remains the most popular and influential politician in the GOP.
Texas is the first state to hold primaries in the 2022 cycle and candidates needed to top 50% to avoid runoff elections in May.
Abbott enjoyed large name recognition and campaign cash advantages over his rivals, and most public opinion polling heading into the primary suggested the governor was in the driver’s seat to avoid a runoff.
Huffines, who conceded even before the final polls closed, argued in a statement that his campaign “forced Greg Abbott to deliver real conservative victories.”