AUSTIN (KXAN) — Gov. Greg Abbott will lead the state of Texas for another term, after defeating Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez, the Associated Press projects.
Preliminary results show Abbott leading with 54 percent of the vote to Valdez’s 45 percent.
Abbott said in a statement Tuesday night that he was deeply honored to continue serving the people of Texas.
“Tonight, voters across Texas sent a clear message,” Abbott said. “They voted to build on the success of the past four years and to keep Texas on a path toward greater opportunity and prosperity. We must always remember that what unites as Texans is far greater than our differences.”
He continued, “With the election behind us, it is time for us to work side by side to build a brighter future for every person in our state. Together, we will elevate Texas to even greater heights.”
Abbott became the 48th governor of Texas in January 2015, having previously served as the state’s attorney general and a state supreme court justice. While governor, Abbott said he signed into law “the largest tax cut in Texas in nearly a decade.” Abbott also said he signed into law “the toughest border security measures of any state in the nation.”
Abbott’s campaign spokesman said his priorities after re-election are reigning in property tax growth, cracking down on human and sex trafficking, cracking down on criminal street gangs and improving education.
“Whether you voted for me or against me or didn’t vote at all, I am going to work every single day, working for everybody in this great state,” Abbott said in his acceptance speech.
Valdez served as the Dallas County sheriff from 2004 until December 2017, when she decided to run for governor. She served in the U.S. Army Reserve and worked with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
As sheriff, she received national attention during a very public dispute with Gov. Abbott after she announced her office would cooperate with state and federal authorities on a case-by-case basis concerning the issue of immigration.
In a concession speech, Valdez thanked her supporters, saying that in the past, she grew stronger from struggles and hoped to do the same moving forward.
“My stubbornness became persistence,” Valdez said. “And, my hardships turned me into a person ready to take on any challenge. Fighting this challenge for the people of Texas has been the greatest honor of my life.”
She added she wishes Gov. Abbott well for the next four years and urged him to make sure all Texans are heard.
“Now we all know that this past year has been filled with campaigns that have battled under different banners. It’s been the red team versus the blue team,” Abbott said. “And, now that the elections are over and the people have spoken, it is time for all of us to unite under the best banner of them all: the great flag of the Lone Star State, the flag of Texas.”