Gov. Greg Abbott was greeted with cheers and applause, as well as one or two protesters, as he took the stage today at the Sunset Station in San Antonio to announce his campaign for re-election.
An expert fundraiser, he has a huge war chest of roughly $34 million.
Abbott defeated Democrat Wendy Davis by 20 points in 2014, and so far, no big-name Democrat has stepped up to take on the daunting challenge of defeating him.
But despite the lack of real competition, Abbott still took some jabs at the other side. He pointed out that although he had won both Harris and Bexar Counties in 2014, Hillary Clinton won them both in 2016.
He told the crowd at one point that he was running so that “San Francisco liberals like Nancy Pelosi will not be governing the great state of Texas.”
Abbott focused much of his speech on education and law and order, as well as the laws that he has signed the last 2 ½ years on those topics.
Even though the governor has no role in passing bills – they can become law even without his signature – he can take credit for lobbying the legislature and applying popular pressure.
Since taking office, he said, “more students are graduating high school, and more students are graduating college than ever before, in the history of the state of Texas.”
This session, he made the nation’s first Sanctuary Cities Ban a priority and signed it into law.
He also touted the expansion of Second Amendment rights with both Open Carry and Campus Carry earning his signature since taking office. He did not make mention, however, of Constitutional Carry, the Republican Party of Texas’ number one legislative priority. (He has not added the bill to his special session call, despite pressure from gun rights groups).
Among several other things, Abbott also celebrated new laws giving police more body armor, and veterans more tax breaks.
But he also laid out some plans for the future. He made a renewed plea for the legislature to reform the Robin Hood school finance system, whereby wealthier school districts lose money in favor of poorer ones. He has even made this an issue for the upcoming special session. He also asked them to give parents more choice in the schools their children attend.
The state’s economy remains one of the strongest in the country, and the governor did not forget to mention it. Loud cheers interrupted Abbott when he said, “If Texas were its own country…”
Smiling brightly, he finished, “We are doing so well, we have the tenth largest economy in the entire world.”
Wrapping up his speech, he thanked supporters and volunteers who are already at work shoring up votes before the March 2018 primary election. Abbott then told the crowd, “together we will keep Texas the most exceptional state in the United States of America.”
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