Governor Greg Abbott Wins Another Term, Patrick and Paxton Win Their Races

Looks like a hat trick for Gov. Greg Abbott
Looks like a hat trick for Gov. Greg Abbott Screenshot

In early returns and as predicted in the pre-election polls, Gov. Greg Abbott was leading in his bid for a third term over Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke in Tuesday’s midterms, signaling that rather than turning purple, Texas will still be known as a red state overall with only isolated pockets of Democratic strongholds.

CBS News called the race for Abbott about 9:45 p.m. Tuesday.

Abbott, who moved from being a fairly moderate Republican to one expressing increasingly conservative views mirroring the hard right shift of many Republican voters, also was able to appeal to Hispanic voters in the Rio Grand Valley.

O’Rourke had hammered Abbott on gun safety, especially after the Uvalde school shootings; the state’s power grid that failed so memorably in February 2021; his border policies and what O’Rourke termed “extreme abortion laws” that were passed following the reversal of Roe v. Wade by the U. S, Supreme Court. He has also blamed Abbott for rising property taxes.

For his part, Abbott has charged O’Rourke with wanting to defund the police and that if the Democrat became governor, he would open the borders to unchecked immigration.

In the Lieutenant Governor’s race, incumbent Republican Dan Patrick retained his seat against Democratic challenger Mike Collier. Libertarian Shanna Steele was coming in at slightly more than 2 percent of the vote. . Collier has said he’d like to see the legal age to purchase a firearm raised from 18 to 21 and also opposes the Republican stances on abortion and providing private school vouchers.

And proving that a federal indictment and an FBI investigation of his office on malfeasance allegations, means little to nothing to the state’s voters, incumbent Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton won his seat against challenger  Democrat Mercedes Garcia. Libertarian Mark Ash got slightly more than 2 percent of the vote. Garcia said she would dismantle Paxton’s “election integrity unit” which she calls wasteful and really a voter suppression strategy. She calls border policies a federal matter and wants to see the state get out of trying to manage it.

Republican Glenn Hegar won in his bid to retain his seat as Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. He has touted his record for maintaining “a strong Rainy Day Fund” designed for emergencies and to cover one-time expenses. His opponent Janet T. Dudding saying new revenue streams are needed for public schools has proposed legalizing adult-use cannabis. She also points out that the Texas office has never had a certified public accountant at its head; she would be the first.

In the race for Commissioner of the General Land Office which opened up when George P. Bush decided to run unsuccessfully for the Attorney General position, Republican Dawn Buckingham bested  Democrat Jay Kleberg. She wants to secure the border, open up oil and gas production and opposes moving the Cenotaph at the Alamo (a proposal from Bush that many say doomed at least for now his chance to continue in public office. Kleberg wants to redo the disaster relief and recovery programs at the GLO – another case where Bush stumbled badly, allocating more recovery monies from Hurricane Harvey relief efforts to inland counties, rather than to coastal areas like Houston which bore the brunt of the property loss and deaths.

As expected, Republican incumbent Sid Miller retained his Commissioner of Agriculture post, leading Democratic challenger Susan Hays by a wide margin. Two areas Hays has pinpointed as needing immediate attention were water resources in the state and Texas’ rural healthcare system. . Another was to push the state to diversify the fruits and vegetables its farmers produce with an emphasis on cannabis production. As far as cannabis goes, Miller agrees it should be expanded for medical but hasn’t bought in to Hays’ recommendation that there should be full legalization for recreational use as well.

Miller, seeking a third term, has been dogged by his own gaffes (he has said the U.S. should drop an atomic bomb on the Moslem world) and most recently the charges filed against his former consultant Todd Smith alleging that he was selling hemp licenses for $150,000 to potential growers. Miller also employed Smith’s wife, paying her nearly $180,00 a year.

U.S. Representatives Races

In the U. S. Representatives races, longtime Democratic incumbents Sheila Jackson Lee (District 18) and Al Green (District 9) easily bested their challengers. Jackson Lee faced three other candidates: Carmen Maria Montiel (Republican), Phil Kurtz (Libertarian) and Vince Duncan (Independent). Green faced a sole opponent in Republican Jimmy I. Leon.

Incumbent Republican Troy Nehls retained his District 22 office against Democratic challenger Jamie Kaye Jordan and Libertarian Joseph LeBlanc. Nehls, a graduate of the conservative Liberty University has supported former President Donald Trump.

Incumbent Democrat Lizzie Fletcher won the District 7 race. She had pointed to her efforts to increase voter access and her bills to protect the environment.
Her Republican challenger Johnny Teague, an accountant in oil and gas and as a healthcare representative in the Med Center, is also a pastor. He wants to open up drilling and refining to lower oil and gas costs. .

Over in District 2, incumbent Republican Dan Crenshaw who has become something of a national figure and who doesn’t always line up with the most devout Trumpers, had little trouble against challenger and Democrat Robin Fulford, who campaigned on making it easier for people to vote, and energy independence for the United States with a focus on lower carbon energy resources..

Incumbent Democrat Sylvia Garcia won her District 29 race against challenger and Republican Robert Schafranek, while in the District 38 race, Republican Wesley Hunt (who lost to Lizzie Fletcher in 2018)  appeared headed for an easy victory against Democrat and former Spring Branch School District Superintendent Duncan F. Klussmann and Independent Joel DeJean, a follower of Lyndon LaRouche. In fact, Hunt declared victory before 9 p.m. 
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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
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