Despite his own opponent doing little in regard to campaigning, Texas’ highest-ranking Republican official has been running an aggressive campaign to shore up support for GOP candidates statewide.
While Gov. Greg Abbott has spent more than $20 million campaigning since January, those dollars have been spent more to the benefit of other campaigns rather than his own. Indeed, the majority of them come in the form of direct expenditures in support of Republican candidates and efforts intended to drive GOP turnout statewide.
It should be expected that the state’s high-profile leaders campaign and spend more aggressively than other Republicans. But with a non-serious opponent in Democrat Lupe Valdez, Abbott could have just gone through the paces. Instead he’s taken to the front lines and led efforts to elect the entire Republican ticket.
Such actions are a huge help to down-ballot Republicans in the midst of tough re-election campaigns.
Though the coastal media and local liberals might dream of turning Texas blue, there are zero indications of such an event being anywhere close to happening. Still, there are a number of Republican candidates—especially in battlegrounds like Dallas and Harris Counties—that polls show could be in trouble.
It’s in those areas that Abbott has invested the heaviest, both in terms of directly handing cash out to campaigns and running digital ads in support of them. He’s also helped spearhead efforts to keep the state’s Third Court of Appeals in GOP hands.
Those actions come on top of an aggressive operation during the GOP primary to defend conservative candidates and target moderate members facing re-election such as State Reps. Wayne Faircloth (R–Dickinson), Lyle Larson (R–San Antonio), and Sarah Davis (R–West University Place), who Abbott endorsed against this past March.
Though many within the GOP were frustrated with the governor for what appeared to be a hesitation to lead at the beginning of his first term as governor, his decision to actively and intentionally engage in the legislative and campaign process has already paid off for conservatives.
As always, it’s up to grassroots activists to win the fights at the polls—and this election is no exception—but it is refreshing to see leaders like Abbott take to the front lines and join citizens in their fight.