Elections

Texas GOP continues statewide election sweep as Abbott, Patrick and Paxton win reelection

The statewide sweep comes as the incumbents campaigned heavily on issues like border security and the economy.

Patricia Lim / KUT
An Abbott campaign sign at the Travis County GOP watch party on Tuesday.

The offices of governor, attorney general and lieutenant governor will remain in conservative hands as Texas Democrats continue their near-three-decade losing streak in statewide contests.

Gov. Greg Abbott won his third term as Texas governor Tuesday night after besting El Paso Democrat Beto O'Rourke.

The contest marks the third consecutive defeat in four years for O'Rourke after the former congressman from El Paso tried unsuccessfully to defeat U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in 2018. That was followed by an ill-fated run for president in 2020.

Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton were also poised for victory in their bids for reelection, adding to the Texas Republicans' near-three-decade streak of controlling the levers of state government.

Patrick again defeated Mike Collier, an accountant who also tried to unseat Patrick in 2018. Patrick was first elected to the post in 2014 after serving as a state senator from Houston.

And despite facing several legal challenges and investigations, voters chose to keep Paxton as the state's chief prosecutor. Paxton has been at the helm of the office under a cloud of controversy since his 2015 indictment on securities fraud charges. Paxton was also subsequently accused by former employees of misusing his office to help donor. Nonetheless, he defeated challenger Rochelle Garza by a wide margin. Garza is a Brownsville native and attorney who made headlines after successfully suing the Trump administration while representing an immigrant teenager who sought access to an abortion.

The statewide sweep comes as the incumbents campaigned heavily on issues like border security and the economy. Abbott repeatedly tied O'Rourke to President Biden and labeled the Texas Democrat a candidate that embraced Biden's so-called "open borders" policy. Abbott also touted the state's economy and his support for an abortion bill that is considered one of the most restrictive pieces of legislation in the country.

Abbott's victory also comes less than six months after a mass shooting at a Uvalde elementary school that claimed the lives of 19 children and two schoolteachers. The tragedy drew renewed attention to Texas gun laws after it was discovered the gunman purchased a semi-automatic weapon when he was 18 years old. But the issue took a back seat to the economy, immigration and public safety. Recent polls showed Abbott leading O'Rourke by double-digits in some cases despite O'Rourke's ability to match Abbott's fundraising in the months leading up to Tuesday's election.

"I ran this campaign for the Texans who want safer streets. For the homeowners burdened with skyrocketing property taxes. For the oil field workers who begged me to protect their livelihoods," Abbott said during a post-election celebration in McAllen, according to a statement. "For parents who want to choose the school that's best for their child. For the ranchers and residents who pleaded for a secure border."