NPR for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Republican Sweep: Greg Abbott Wins Big Over Wendy Davis In Texas Governor's Race

Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis campaigns

It wasn’t a surprise that Attorney General Greg Abbott won the race for Texas governor. The polls showed Democratic candidate Wendy Davis down by double digits for weeks. Still, on Tuesday night, Davis was upbeat about how far her party has come.

Last July, Davis, the Texas state senator, made news in her bright pink running shoes during an 11-hour marathon filibuster. Tuesday night, she was hoping to shine again. Instead, she decided it was time to back down.

“The people have spoken,” she told a crowd in Fort Worth. “Just a few moments ago, I called General Abbott to congratulate him on being elected governor of this incredible state.”

During the yearlong campaign, Davis had two things going for her in Texas – a massive army of volunteers, and a growing minority electorate that tends to vote Democratic.

“What we have done here in this state and in this campaign is nothing short of extraordinary,” Davis said Tuesday night. “We were down by 23 points in January; we cut that in half by June and we have in the offensive ever since.”

Still, the final numbers weren’t encouraging for the Davis camp. By midnight, with 87 percent of precincts reporting, Davis had 38 percent of the vote. In the 2010 governor's race, former Houston mayor Bill White earned 42 percent of the vote, losing to Gov. Rick Perry.

Republicans across Texas won big in statewide races. Dan Patrick easily defeated Leticia Van de Putte to become lieutenant governor.

For governor-elect Abbott, this victory comes after a series of wins. In six elections, starting with his run for state trial court judge in 1992, he hasn’t lost a race.

When Abbott took to the stage in Austin Tuesday night, he referred to the accident that left him paralyzed 30 years ago, and said his win was a demonstration of opportunity.

“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 said.

Abbott also made a promise to Texans.

“Whether you voted for me against me, or didn’t vote at all, I’m going to work every single day to keep Texas the best state in the U.S.,” Abbott said.

Abbott, the first new governor of Texas in 14 years, will be sworn into office in January. 

Texans chose "hope over fear," Abbott says

Here's a report from The Associated Press:

Governor-elect Greg Abbott says that as Texas goes, so goes the rest of the United States and the world.

Elected by wide margins Tuesday night over Democrat Wendy Davis, Abbott told his victory party in Austin that Texans had voted for "hope over fear."

He called his win a testament to a state where "a young man's life can literally be broken in half" and still recover - a reference to the accident that paralyzed him from the waist down.

He said he would work to make government "the servant of the people - not the other way around."

Speaking before Abbott were outgoing Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Ted Cruz and other elected officials who were part of another Republican sweep of top statewide offices.

A teary-eyed Davis has told her supporters that it's OK to be disappointed, but not discouraged, by her loss in the governor's race.

The Texas state senator lost Tuesday by a decisive margin to Abbott, part of Texas Republicans' sweep of top statewide offices.

Speaking in Fort Worth, Davis called on Democrats to keep fighting for their values and candidates. She thanked her supporters for never backing down.

Davis vaulted to national prominence thanks to her filibuster of a tough abortion restrictions law last year, and her campaign raised tens of millions of dollars statewide and nationally. But she was considered a heavy underdog to Abbott in a state that hasn't elected a Democrat to statewide office in 20 years.

Perry says he wishes he could serve with fellow Republicans elected to statewide office.

Perry is leaving office after 14 years as Texas governor.

Speaking at Abbott's victory party in Austin, Perry called the latest Republican sweep of statewide offices a "little bittersweet." He touted his own accomplishments and said governors of other states were jealous of Texas.

Raising his voice, Perry called out that under Abbott, "things are going to get even better."

Perry did not run for a fourth full term. He's been traveling during his last months in office to key states as he considers a second run for the White House in 2016.

Read more from The Texas Tribune.

Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.