AUSTIN (KXAN) — Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott easily won reelection to a third term in the Nov. 8 election, defeating Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke by double digits.
Abbott received almost 55% of the statewide vote, to O’Rourke’s roughly 44%.
O’Rourke won the major population centers of Harris, Dallas, Bexar and Travis counties, while Abbott won smaller cities, like Lubbock, Amarillo, Abilene and Tyler, while also running up the margins in rural areas.
Abbott netted the most votes from Montgomery County, north of Houston, where his margin of victory was almost 100,000 votes. He also won several counties with more than a 30,000-vote margin: Parker, Denton, Smith, Collin, Comal, Lubbock, Randall, Johnson and Galveston counties.
Meanwhile, O’Rourke saw huge margins in Travis County — winning more than 215,000 votes more than Abbott there — as well as six-digit margins in both Dallas and Harris counties. Despite more strong margins in Bexar and El Paso counties, he was unable to overcome the vast amount of votes cast in more rural areas, which leaned strongly Republican.
The final margin statewide was almost 900,000 votes, or 11.14%.
The margin was slightly tighter than the 2018 gubernatorial election, when Abbott beat Democrat Lupe Valdez by 13.53%. In that race, Abbott’s margin over his main rival was more than 1.1 million votes.
O’Rourke tightened the race, albeit only slightly, by improving Democrats’ numbers in the Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin metropolitan areas. The map below shows the swing in each county.
Statewide, 205 counties moved toward the Republicans, while 49 counties swung to the left.
Kaufman County, southeast of Dallas, shifted the most leftward, moving more than 11 percentage points in the Democrats’ favor. Four other counties swung to the left by more than 10 points: Travis, Williamson, Ellis and Bexar counties.
Meanwhile, Abbott’s numbers saw improvement in several areas of the state, including South Texas, West Texas, the Panhandle and East Texas.
Thirty-five counties swung rightward by more than 10 percentage points, with three shifting by more than 20 points: Zapata, Culberson and Reeves counties.
Zapata County, along the border in South Texas, moved the most — a 26.42% swing to the Republicans, from a 20-point margin of victory for Valdez in 2018 to a 6.5-point victory for Abbott this year.
The shifts reflect trends seen in recent election cycles, with major cities continuing to move to the left while South Texas marches to the right.