Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has won a third term, CNN projects, fending off former Rep. Beto O’Rourke in a match-up in which Democrats had hoped to challenge Republicans’ decades of dominance in Austin.
Abbott, who is viewed by some within the GOP as a potential 2024 presidential contender, survived O’Rourke’s criticism of his management of the state’s power grid, his response to mass shootings, including the one at an elementary school in Uvalde, and his opposition to abortion rights.
The victory by Abbott underscores the extent to which Republicans remain dominant in Texas – buoyed in part by improved performances with Latino voters.
Democrats have long hoped that the growing and increasingly diverse urban centers and suburbs of Texas would provide the party a path to competitiveness in the largest red state on America’s political map.
O’Rourke got close in his 2018 Senate race against Republican Ted Cruz to becoming the first Democrat elected statewide in Texas since 1994. But polls this year showed him lagging farther behind Abbott as Republicans hammered Democrats across the nation over rising inflation and gas prices.