Midterm victories strengthen GOP

Dallas GOP members celebrate one of the Republican victories during the state midterm elections.

MOIRA MCINTEE, Managing Editor

Incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott has secured his seat in the Texas Capitol for another four years. Abbott supporters were in high spirits Tuesday night as the state elections resulted in Republican wins across the board.

“Together, we will keep Texas the greatest state in the greatest nation in the history of the world,” Abbott said at a victory speech in McAllen.

Abbott secured 55% of the vote statewide with 79% of votes tallied. O’Rouke won Dallas County with 63% of the vote.

“We just want a state where people are free enough and healthy enough to be able to pursue their potential and rise to fulfill their true promise,” O’Rourke said in his concession speech from El Paso. “A state where we’re not defined or divided based on our differences but find the common interest for the common good right here on the common ground before us.”

Republicans initially predicted a red wave for the midterms. While the U.S. House of Representatives was poised to flip to a red majority, the race for Senate seats was still tight early Wednesday.

“Texas is gonna stay red for a very long time,” Dallas GOP chairwoman Jennifer Stoddard said at the Dallas County GOP watch party. “Dallas County has been blue for a while, but we see it starting to turn purple.”

Abbott’s campaign against Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke focused on the importance of conservative values being the backbone of Texas, according to the campaign.

Restricting abortion access, enforcing the Second Amendment and securing the Texas border were main components to Abbott’s platform.

O’Rourke rallied voters with the promise of overturning the state’s abortion ban, strengthening gun control and reforming the immigration process at the border.

“Companies are not wanting to come to Texas because of the abortion laws and because of the lack of health care,” Dallas Democrats Chair Kristy Noble said. “He could change things.”

Dallas County has historically voted for Democratic candidates. However, there has not been a Democratic governor since Ann Richards held office from 1991 to 1995.

“Let’s put aside any hard feelings that we may have from this election and commit to each other to collaborate to continue making Dallas County and North Texas the best urban area in America,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, a Democrat who was re-elected to his fourth term Tuesday night.

The Dallas County Democratic watch party at Gilley’s emptied when O’Rourke’s loss was announced, while Republican watch party attendees celebrated at Smoky Rose restaurant in East Dallas.

Fox News predicted Abbott’s win less than two hours after polling stations closed, and Republicans erupted into cheers when the news broke. Disappointment washed across the faces of O’Rourke supporters.

“It’s very frustrating as a woman that I genuinely have no rights over my body,” hairdresser and O’Rourke supporter Haley Dane said. “Plus, I’m sick and tired of men telling me what I can and cannot do.”

While the Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court decision that overturned the constitutional right to abortion ignited support for the Democrats, Republican voters were more focused on the economy and crime.

“You can see the damage that’s been done to our country in 22 months under a Democrat agenda and it’s got to come to a halt,” said Antonio Swad, who lost the race for Congressional District 22 to incumbent Colin Allred. “It stops tonight.”

Tuesday’s election marks O’Rourke’s third loss in four years – for Senate, for president and for governor.

“We’re disappointed because we could be moving in a different and better direction,” O’Rourke supporter John Rodriguez said.

— Carmen Guzman contributed to this report