Attorney General Greg Abbott was elected the state’s next governor by about a 20-point margin Tuesday night, extending the Republican Party’s hold on statewide elections to 16 years.
At his election night party in Austin, Abbott thanked all Texans, including those who voted against him or not at all.
“We all want to live in safer communities and give all our children lives worthy of their promise,” Abbott said “I am living proof that a young man can have his life broken in half and still rise up to be the governor of this great state.”
Abbott asserted Texas’ role as a trendsetter and said the bonds of being a Texan transcends all other differences in political perspective. He promised that he would work as governor to keep government small and continue to provide economic and educational opportunities for all.
“Now, more than ever, it is a time for Texans to unite to achieve these goals,” Abbott said. “As Texas goes, so goes America. And as America goes, so goes the world. Now, more than ever, we must show Texas-style conservative leadership provides real solutions to the problems Texans face. These priorities are bigger than any single political party because we are Texans first, and, as your governor, I will put Texas first.”
Gov. Rick Perry spoke at Abbott’s party and said other states are looking to Texas for inspiration, as the state has achieved a great deal in his 14 years as governor.
Abbott’s opponent, Wendy Davis, addressed a crowd of supporters in Fort Worth after the results were called.
“The genius and beauty of our democracy is that, ultimately, the power rests with the people,” Davis said. “Even when the results do not go the way we want them to, we celebrate the fact that we live in a country in which the people get to decide their elected leaders — and tonight the people of Texas have spoken.”
Davis remained positive throughout the speech and said she called Abbott as soon as she heard the results.
“Throughout this campaign, Abbott has reminded us how strong he is, how determined he is, and, while he and I disagree on many issues, I know that he loves Texas,” Davis said.
Despite the sweeping statewide Republican victory, Davis asked supporters to continue fighting to turn Texas blue.
“Please know this,” Davis said. “Your work is not in vain. The only way that we will have lost tonight is if we stop fighting.”
Several other elected officials spoke at Abbott’s party, including Land Commissioner-elect George P. Bush and Agriculture Commissioner-elect Sid Miller. With the Republicans taking the majority in the U.S. Senate, Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn also addressed the crowd.
“The last six years has been a failed experiment of big government,” said Cornyn, who was elected to his third term Tuesday. “Weaker on the national stage and poorer here at home, but we won’t settle for that kind of America.”
Wang reported from Austin and Cobler reported from Fort Worth.