UPDATED at 9:45 p.m.: ABC News is projecting Gov. Greg Abbott as the winner in his race against Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.
The results currently show Abbott with a 54-44 lead with all of the early votes and about 30% of precincts reporting election day totals across the state.
Neither candidate has released a statement on the results.
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The top of the Texas ballot will be a nationally-watched showdown between former Congressman Beto O’Rourke and current Governor Greg Abbott.
The pair squared off in a single debate in September, though O’Rourke pressed for more.
Both candidates sailed through their primaries and have raised record-setting amounts of campaign donations over the last year.
Abbott and O’Rourke have been spending that money — as you’ve likely seen — on TV, radio and digital campaign advertisements.
O’Rourke has traversed the state on a seemingly never-ending town hall tour of small towns and big cities with hundreds of stops, hoping to pull voters from rural and suburban areas that have historically voted Republican.
O’Rourke’s bid to shore up centrist and right-leaning voters may be hamstrung by stances he took when running in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary — including banning AR-15s.
Abbott, on the other hand, has run a much more low-key campaign — as is increasingly common for incumbent candidates favored in their race.
But Abbott’s enormous campaign bank account means he can paint any opponent negatively across the state without making a public appearance.
As the Republican incumbent, Abbott came into the race a heavy favorite and is still leading in the polls.
After all, no Democrat has won a statewide election since 1992. That’s more than 200 consecutive elections lost for Texas Dems.
But O’Rourke’s campaign sees an opening.
Abbott has faced backlash after the coronavirus restrictions he implemented, the deadly failure of the power grid and the misinformation he provided in the wake of the Uvalde school massacre when he uttered the now-infamous phrase “It could have been worse.”
Even with those potential vulnerabilities, it will be a monumental task to take down one of the most high-profile Republicans in the country — who has his eyes on the White House in 2024 — in a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat in three decades.