Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott handily beat several vocal challengers during Tuesday’s primary, leading to a November face-off with Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who also cruised to victory.
The incumbent governor, who is seeking a third term, easily won his party’s nomination, fending off six other candidates, including Allen West, a former congressman and chairman of the Republican Party of Texas.
“Republicans sent a message,” Abbott said. “They want to keep Texas on the extraordinary path of opportunity that we have provided over the past eight years.”
O’Rourke — who made high-profile, though unsuccessful, runs for Senate in 2018 and president in 2020 — had been heavily favored to emerge from a five-person field.
He celebrated his win with a rally in Fort Worth, where in 2018 he flipped Texas’ largest red county.
“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 told supporters.
The most-watched race in the Lone Star State, however, was the Republican primary for state attorney general, which saw incumbent Ken Paxton locked in a fierce battle against three challengers.
Paxton — who has been the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation into whether he used his position to improperly assist a campaign donor — had hoped an endorsement from former President Donald Trump would put him over the top.
But the embattled AG appeared to be heading to a May 24 runoff after he failed to notch the 50 percent threshold needed to win the primary outright.
It wasn’t immediately clear who would join him in that race from the other candidates: Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush (son of Jeb, nephew of George W., and grandson of George H.W.), and former state Supreme Court Judge Eva Guzman.
Also still to be decided was the race between nine-term Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar, who is facing a progressive challenge from Jessica Cisneros, an immigration attorney who has the backing of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
The “Squad” member recently traveled to South Texas to campaign for Cisneros in her bid to unseat the sitting congressman.
With Post wires