In an election in which Democrats predicted a “blue wave” of liberal victories, Gov. Greg Abbott has defeated Sheriff Lupe Valdez, his Democrat opponent, to win re-election to Texas’ highest office.
Since winning the governor’s office four years ago, Abbott has been an aggressive advocate for conservative reforms throughout the two legislative sessions during his first term, notably calling the legislature back to pass a slate of twenty pieces of conservative legislation last year despite obstruction from Texas House Speaker Joe Straus.
Under Abbott, the Texas Legislature passed the nation’s strongest sanctuary city bill as well as legislation to protect private property rights and tax relief for small businesses.
Severely lacking the “star power” provided by Wendy Davis, the former state senator and abortion advocate who received millions of out-of-state dollars in her campaign against Abbott in 2014, Texas Democrats scrambled to select a gubernatorial candidate. This resulted in a nine-way clown car primary in which Valdez beat out Andrew White, who significantly outraised her, as well as gay bar owner Jeffrey Payne.
But after winning the Democratic primary election, Valdez’ campaign against Abbott seemed to hit a brick wall. While Abbott’s campaign war chest surpassed $40 million, Valdez was unable to raise even $1 million against him.
While political observers never really placed Abbott’s election in doubt, the governor aggressively campaigned anyway — shouldering the weight (and cost) of Republican efforts statewide. Indeed, Abbott’s massive $20 million-plus spending and aggressive get-out-the-vote efforts are likely what many narrowly elected Republicans have to thank for their success.
When the polls closed Tuesday night, the outcome was all but immediately obvious as early numbers showed Abbott with an insurmountable lead on Valdez.