Greg Abbott Going For Third Term In 2022 Texas Governor Odds

Written By Evan Scrimshaw on January 12, 2022
greg abbott

One of the most interesting races in the nation this fall will be the race for the Governorship of Texas, pitting incumbent Greg Abbott seeking a third term against the Democrats’ failed 2018 Senate candidate, and elite fundraiser, Beto O’Rourke.

The race for the Governor’s Mansion in Austin will be a fierce one, and whether or not Abbott can get his third term is going to be a dominant question this year.

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2022 Texas Governor Odds: Republican Primary

CandidateJan. 12, 2022 PriceEquivalent Odds
Greg Abbott$0.95-1900
Allen West$0.03+3233
Don Huffines$0.02+4900

*All other candidates priced at $0.01 (+9900)

Does Greg Abbott Face A Primary Threat?

Yes, but how serious of one it is is unclear.

Allan West, the former Chair of the Texas GOP and former Congressman from Florida, is challenging Greg Abbott for being insufficient conservative and loyal to former President Trump, and has a decent amount of support amongst the GOP membership, as proved by the fact he managed to win the State Chair position.

West, a former Tea Party Congressman who lost in 2012 for being too extreme for his redrawn district, moved to Texas and despite that history in Florida has flirted with the idea of Texas independence, in addition to a litany of controversial past statements, from a history of Islamophobic views to saying drivers with bumper stickers for then-President Obama were “a threat to the gene pool.”

That said, his primary polls so far have been pedestrian, with Abbott commanding majority support in every poll taken so far this cycle. With Abbott as the incumbent and a fundraising edge – and the endorsement of Trump, despite the complaints of some that he hasn’t been Trumpian enough – he should easily destroy his competition in the primary.

2022 Texas Governor Odds: General Election

CandidateJan. 12, 2022 PriceEquivalent Odds
Greg Abbott$0.89-809
Beto O'Rourke$0.11+809
Allen West$0.03+3233

*All other candidates priced at $0.01 (+9900)

Does Beto O’Rourke Have A Chance?

So, if Abbott should easily handle his primary challenge, is there any value in O’Rourke, the man who holds the distinction of the best Democratic performance in Texas since the 2000s? It’s not impossible, especially when you consider the reasons Abbott might be vulnerable.

The 2021 winter storms were a huge political problem for the Abbott administration, as heating and power went out for hundreds of thousands of Texans, and people were risking freezing to death. Scenes of people burning their fences for heat were commonplace, and the expensive bills many families faced afterwards were unconscionable.

Abbott’s chances took a hit then, and that’s why Allen West thought he could make the primary interesting, even if he has up to now failed to do so. Abbott appeared weak, but since then, his polling has recovered, and that’s why Democrats took so long to find a candidate against him.

After originally ruling out a run for the Governorship, Beto had to come back and run because he was the only plausible candidate who might even be willing to run, with other plausible names either staying in their other elected offices, or holding on until 2024 or 2026 to run for statewide office. And just because Beto managed to make it close once doesn’t mean he can win now.

Beto’s appeal is that he will raise a ton of money, as he did in his Senate race and even in his failed Presidential bid, but money can only go so far in one of the most expensive states in the country, and some of the reasons he came close in 2018 won’t exist anymore.

Beto came within 3% last time he ran in Texas, sure, but a lot of the reason why is that 2018 was a very good year to be a Democrat nationally, which 2022 is not shaping up to be, and there’s still a lot of room for the Democratic coalition to fall with Hispanics.

Beto ran in 2018 and did considerably worse than Hillary’s 2016 Presidential campaign with Hispanic voters, but that weakness was masked, in a sense, by his results with socially liberal, wealthy, educated whites in Austin, Dallas, and Houston. As those voters sprinted left, the weakness with Hispanics got ignored.

In 2020, the floor fell out from underneath Democrats with those voters, and now Democrats need to do even better in the suburbs of Austin and Dallas to win the state, and whether they can do so or not in a red year is highly unlikely.

A Democratic victory would involve flipping the two suburban counties north of Dallas – Collin and Denton – while making Tarrant, the home of Fort Worth, bluer than it was when Joe Biden barely flipped it. Whether Beto is the best candidate to flip these voters is unclear, but whether he can flip enough of them in time is less unclear.

Texas will eventually flip as Democrats do better and better in those cities, but it’s too much to ask to do in one cycle, especially with headwinds from having an unpopular Biden Presidency dragging down the party’s position, as it did in Virginia in 2021.

Can Beto make this close against Gregg Abbott? Sure, but the best he can do is close, and that’s not the same thing as having a path to victory, not this year. Unless Joe Biden can royally rally his approval, Abbott finds himself in the middle of a devastating scandal (of which there is absolutely no evidence) and Republican turnout falls off a cliff in a way it didn’t in Virginia or New Jersey last year, Beto doesn’t have a hope in hell.

Even if all of those things happen, then Beto would still be an underdog, but merely one with a pulse as opposed to one without one. The best Democrats can hope for is a close result which lays the ground work for the next race which will inevitably turn Texas blue, but this one isn’t it.

Greg Abbott will win the 2022 Texas Governor’s election, and to bet anyone else is an act of Democratic delusion over reality.

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