Texas Gov. Greg Abbott won his reelection bid Tuesday by defeating former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who trailed the Republican incumbent throughout the campaign despite his national name recognition and image as a rising Democratic Party star.
Mr. Abbott led Mr. O’Rourke by 53.3% to 45.4% with 53% of the vote counted, prompting multiple media outlets to call the race for the Republican.
The third straight gubernatorial victory for Mr. Abbott in one of the nation’s largest states is expected to fuel speculation about a potential 2024 run for the Republican presidential nomination.
Mr. O’Rourke, 50, hammered the governor on his response to the deadly school shooting in May in Uvalde, Texas, calling for tougher gun laws. But he failed to gain traction against a Republican headwind in the red state, weighed down by President Biden’s low approval ratings, high inflation and rising crime.
The former Democratic congressman became a media favorite during his closer-than-expected 2018 challenge to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. Mr. O’Rourke then sought the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination but dropped out before the Iowa caucuses.