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Greg Abbott Plans Pre-Primary Tour Supporting GOP State House Incumbents, Candidates

Bob Daemmrich
The Texas Tribune
Gov. Greg Abbott has stated that protecting the GOP state House majority is his top priority in 2020.

Gov. Greg Abbott has spent the past seven months unveiling endorsements for Texas House Republicans and other GOP candidates for the lower chamber — and now he is about to hit the road for them.

As early voting begins next week for the March 3 primary, Abbott is embarking on a statewide tour to get out the vote for at least 10 incumbents and candidates, his team tells The Texas Tribune. The travel is the latest evidence of the governor's priority focus this election cycle on the state House, which Democrats are working to flip in November.

But before the general election fight, Abbott has to get his favored Republicans through their primaries, and his itinerary reflects that. He is making stops to stump for at least four members with primary challenges: Reps. Geanie Morrison of Victoria on Tuesday, J.D. Sheffield of Gatesville on Feb. 25, Briscoe Cain of Baytown on Feb. 26 and Jared Patterson of Frisco on Feb. 27.

Abbott will also campaign for his endorsed candidates in open-seat races and Democratic-held districts that the GOP is trying to flip back. He will be in Highland Village on Monday to appear with Kronda Thimesch, who faces one other Republican in the primary to challenge Rep. Michelle Beckley, D-Carrollton. The next day, Abbott will head to Waxahachie to stump for Jake Ellzey, one of three Republicans vying to replace retiring Rep. John Wray, R-Waxahachie. A day later, Abbott will head to Katy to campaign for Angelica Garcia, who is up against former Rep. Mike Schofield for the seat he lost to Democrat Gina Calanni in 2018.

On Feb. 21, Abbott will headline a joint event for three Republicans on the ballot in Fort Bend County: Jacey Jetton, one of three GOP candidates to succeed retiring Rep. Rick Miller, R-Sugar Land; Manish Seth, who is one of two Republicans competing to take on Rep. Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City; and Gary Gates, who won a nationally targeted special election runoff last month but is on the ballot again in the March primary and faces little competition.

Most of the events will be close to early voting locations to make it easy for attendees to cast ballots before or after, according to Abbott's campaign.

Amid the candidate stops, Abbott will head to San Antonio on Feb. 20 to headline a fundraiser for the House Republican Caucus. It is the first in a series of several fundraisers that Abbott has committed to doing for the caucus.

Patrick Svitek is a reporter for the Texas Tribune. He previously worked for the Houston Chronicle's Austin bureau. He graduated in 2014 from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. He originally is from Fort Wayne, Indiana.