Texas Gov. Greg Abbott urges Tories to fight socialism, uses Beto O’Rourke to raise money
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott steps up campaign for re-election by touting his conservative credentials, warning of a socialist takeover, and raising money in anticipation of a deadly 2022 battle with the former US representative Beto O’Rourke.
Abbott crystallized his strategy in a telethon-style fundraiser on Tuesday that masqueraded as a town hall.
His message as he pleaded for campaign money: The Socialists are coming.
“Whichever socialist they come up with, we’re going to defeat it,” Abbott said. “We are fighting more than people on the other side, we are fighting an ideology, an ideology and trying to ruin Texas and the United States of America. And this is a fight that I cannot fight alone.
Although he has taken a few hits over the past year during the deadly winter storm and his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Abbott is in a strong position for re-election, analysts say.
But the governor, a former attorney general and Supreme Court justice, has steadily taken steps to strengthen his position with conservative activists, while hoping to continue to have the resources to fend off a general election challenge.
The 2022 re-election campaign promises to be different from any campaign Abbott is running. He faces opposition in the GOP primary from former State Senator Donald Huffines of Dallas. And former Texas Republican Party Chairman Allen West is expected to announce his campaign against Abbott when he addresses next month’s Conservative political action conference in Dallas.
The idea among like-minded anti-Abbott activists appears to force the governor into a second round and hope his popularity wanes.
Huffines says he’s the true curator of the race and that Abbott stole the idea from him to build a wall along the state’s border with Mexico.
“Abbott has had six years to secure our open border and it is only now that he is expressing interest in taking action because he faces a serious main challenger, which makes his new stance on border security politically convenient, “Huffines said in a statement. “Texans are not ignorant. They know that if Abbott had wanted to secure the border, he would have done so a long time ago.
Democrats are banking that O’Rourke, who just wrapped up a barnstorming tour across Texas to promote voting rights, chooses to challenge Abbott in the general election. O’Rourke, who lost a close race in 2018 to incumbent Republican Ted Cruz and organized a failed 2020 presidential bid, is considering becoming his party’s standard bearer against Abbott.
Meanwhile, Texans are waiting to see if Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey runs for governor. The potential populist figure did not choose party affiliation.
“Abbott, no matter what happens, always raises money,” said Matt Angle, Democratic Party strategist. “He knows that every time he mentions Beto O’Rourke’s name he gets Republican Trumpers looking for their wallets.”
Angle said that contrary to the Republican narrative, Abbott is vulnerable. He cites as evidence the failure of the Texas power grid during the winter storm in February. This resulted in the deaths of more than 150 people and power outages statewide. Angle added that Abbott’s outreach to Trump voters does not help his position with moderates.
“He’s been on display and people are seeing through his veneer of competence and his veneer of moderation,” Angle said.
The governor this week did not mention his main run against Huffines, apparently confident in his stance with GOP activists.
But he warned Republicans against an O’Rourke campaign, telling his supporters he didn’t want 2018 to repeat, when O’Rourke approached 2.6 percentage points to beat Cruz.
“You also have to understand why someone as socialist as Beto O’Rourke fell within two percentage points of beating Ted Cruz,” Abbott said. “The way he did it. He raised $ 80 million.
Abbott said O’Rourke could raise even more for a run for the Texas government, as the Texas elections for governor have no campaign limits.
“Without any campaign limits like what we have in Texas, he can easily raise over $ 100 million in a campaign against me,” Abbott said.
“We cannot let this happen again. There is no margin or latitude to approach two percentage points for a socialist to take control of the state of Texas, ”Abbott said.
The Texas legislative session ended on Memorial Day, and since then Abbott has been busy.
He vetoed a portion of the state budget that funds the legislative branch of government, then recalled lawmakers next month for a 30-day special session. There, he is expected to ask the legislature to consider a controversial “electoral security” proposal, as well as bail reform, more legislation to curb the critical race theory taught in schools, and more legislation to curb the critical race theory taught in schools. law to protect the rights of the First Amendment on social media platforms for people like former President Donald Trump, who was kicked from Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.
Since the end of the session, Abbott has also pledged to build a wall along the state’s southern border with Mexico. Next week, he will meet with Trump, the initiator of the border wall policy, at what will be a widely publicized event along the border.
During his phone call with what organizers said were tens of thousands of supporters, Abbott listed his accomplishments. They included passage by the Legislature of a bill banning abortion in the sixth week of pregnancy, legislation to punish cities that cut police funding, legislation prohibiting the teaching of theory criticism of race and other measures that support what Abbott calls “the rule of law.”
Abbott has also stepped up its fundraising. During the call, an energetic woman named Samantha burst into the question-and-answer portion of the program with fundraising appeals.
This week, Abbott enlisted the help of Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who sent the governor a fundraising email. Trump endorsed Abbott earlier this month.
The governor, by tradition, is also expected to travel to the state for ceremonial signing of bills.
At one point in the phone call, former Dallas County Republican Party Chairman Nate Crain and his wife pledged to match contributions made on the phone call up to $ 35,000.
“We know Beto O’Rourke isn’t up to any good,” Crain said. “He’s traveling across the state and preparing to raise unlimited funds for a gubernatorial candidacy. “
By three-quarters of the program, they were only halfway through the total amount Crain agreed to match.
Abbott’s latest campaign disclosure report shows he has $ 38 million in the bank. This is a significant number that has likely been reduced with the addition of senior campaign staff. The governor was unable to raise funds during the legislative session, so he is trying to fill his campaign coffers in anticipation of a race against O’Rourke or another Democrat.
“There is no room or latitude to come close to two percentage points to allow a socialist to take control of the state of Texas,” Abbott said of a potential race against O ‘ Rourke.
Rice University political scientist Mark Jones said it was no surprise that Abbott used O’Rourke as a fundraising tool.
“Using Beto is a great way to raise money,” Jones said. “One of the things Abbott has learned is that his campaign war chest is not only good for his own campaign, but it makes him a more influential player in Republican politics because he has resources to help other candidates and conservative causes. “
Jones said 2022 was only part of Abbott’s goals. He says the governor is hoping for a solid re-election in 2022, so he can be considered a presidential candidate in 2024, especially if Trump opts against another White House candidacy.
At the moment, Abbott is not in the conversation, as potential candidates like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have become a darling of Trump supporters.
But flogging Democrats in 2022 and successfully building a border wall could put Abbott in the 2024 mix, as a presidential or vice-presidential candidate.
“He’s also partly thinking about 2024,” Jones said of Abbott. “Next year will set him up – or not set him up – as a viable candidate in 2024.”