The first primary elections to define each party’s nominees for the state’s governorship were held in Texas on Tuesday, resulting in a victory for Republican Governor Greg Abbott and Democrat Beto O’Rourke.

Those primaries kicked off the race for the November 8, 2022, general election.

According to The Hill, Abbott, the state’s conservative leader, comfortably avoided a runoff with 68% of the vote to defeat two prominent challengers, former state Senator Don Huffines and former Florida Congressman and former Texas Republican Party Chairman Allen West.

“Tonight, Republicans sent a message that they want to keep Texas the land of opportunity and prosperity for absolutely everybody—the prosperity that we have delivered over the past eight years,” Abbott said at a Corpus Christi rally, according to NPR.

For months, Abbott’s leading opponents had chastised him for his response to the coronavirus pandemic. Criticizing that in his first phase, his executive orders, which included mask mandates and business closures, had been harsh and that he took too long to open the state. They also accused the Republican governor of not securing the Texas-Mexico border.

Nevertheless, polls for a long time gave Abbott a wide lead over his rivals. Now, the current two-term governor, who had the backing of former President Donald Trump, is the favorite to beat O’Rourke in the general election on November 8, 2022.

As the media also indicates, there are rumors that Abbott is considering a 2024 run for president. However, this could be unlikely if Trump reaffirms his candidacy.  

Democrat O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, seeks to become the state’s first Democratic governor in nearly three decades. Republicans have won every gubernatorial election in Texas since 1994.

“THANK YOU, TEXAS,” O’Rourke tweeted in a message to supporters, “We are going to win this race with one another, for one another.”

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