Texas Re-elects Abbott as Governor, Rejecting O’Rourke
Texas has elected its third governor in six months. There’s little doubt the country still has a few months to go before a new one is sworn in, but the state’s political dynamics will be reshuffled even in the short term.
Abbott, who takes the oath of office June 1, is expected to sign and enact some of the liberal priorities that have become more prominent in the state since O’Rourke left office. He will also try to make amends with some of his conservative allies and bring back some old friends.
What O’Rourke accomplished could prove more enduring than any potential political legacy. His victory was a surprise to many, and his defeat a shocker to many, as the Democratic contender beat a Republican, Texas’ top lobbyist, in statewide elections and took over the top job at a conservative think tank.
When O’Rourke left for San Francisco last month, he had some of the most progressive ideas, including Medicare-for-all and the Green New Deal, and was seen as a potential contender to challenge Trump eventually. That may still happen, but the 2020 election isn’t until November.
Abbott, who is the state’s second-term governor, was expected to win re-election Monday night. He has made major policy adjustments since his 2016 campaign, though many of his voters have been conservative and he lost their support.
Abbott’s re-election campaign, though, has some new ideas for how political parties work together. On Friday, Abbott invited O’Rourke to campaign for him — not as a challenger, but as a former senator, who was first elected in 2018.
“I think he’s very smart, he’s very talented, he’s going to go up there and campaign for me,” Abbott said in Dallas. “And maybe I’ll get lucky here and he’ll get lucky there, and then maybe we’ll have some bipartisan collaboration going on in years to come.”
O’Rourke will have to work fast to win back voters. But given that