“To keep Texas the greatest state in America, I’m running for re-election as Governor of Texas,” were the words nearly everyone in San Antonio’s historic Sunset Station needed to hear on Friday.
July 14 has a special meaning for Greg Abbott. On that day in 1984 he was struck by a tree limb while jogging and paralyzed, requiring the use of a wheelchair. On that day in 2013, he announced his candidacy for Governor of Texas. Four years later, he chose the same location, and the same day as his previous gubernatorial campaign announcement.
“I’m committed to preserving your Texas Liberty,” Abbott said to a crowd of friends, family and supporters. “I’ve proven that I’m willing to fight Washington D.C. but I’m counting on you to have my back.”
Texas is the Lone Star State for a reason,” he added. “We stand apart as a model for the rest of the nation.”
“Now I need your help to write the next chapter in our extraordinary history,” he said. “Together, we will keep Texas the most exceptional state in America.”
Abbott addressed areas he was proud of during his time as Governor, including tightening Texas borders, banning sanctuary cities, and signing into law protections for law enforcement officers.
“It’s time for Texans to unite and support those who risk their lives keeping our communities safe,” he explained.
He also outlined several ways he wants to improve upon the work he accomplished while in office.
“Texas will be better if we protect innocent life,” he stated. “Texas will be better if we improve our schools and protect our communities. Texas will be better if we cut regulations and create more jobs. Texas will be better if we show the veterans out gratitude that they deserve by getting them the jobs they need and deserve.”
Abbott referenced several items he has called on lawmakers to address during the special session that starts July 18, including property taxes and teacher salaries.
“I also promised to keep the Texas economy an international leader,” he added. “Since I took office, Texas has added more than 450,000 new jobs. More Texans have jobs today then ever before in the history of our state. And if Texas was its own country, it would be the 10th largest economy in the world.
The Texas Democratic Party issued a statement ahead of Abbott’s Friday announcement.
“Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s lousy first term has proved to us one thing: he is the weakest governor in Texas history. His destructive agenda has put our families in peril,” said chairman Gilberto Hinojosa. “Under Abbott’s watch we’ve seen: an economy fall from 3rd to 21st, a broken school finance system, the start of state-sponsored deportation force, and even foster children dying in state custody. Abbott has failed Texans at every turn.
“Texans and our families are strong,” Hinojosa added. “We endure and we will not let fear-mongering Republicans and nonsense hold us back. After 2016, Texas is a single-digit state and more Democrats are fired up than ever before. The Texas Republican establishment is crumbling.
“While Abbott fights all the wrong battles, Texas Democrats are focused on real solutions for all Texans,” he continued. “We will keep fighting to win in 2018 and beyond.”
“The Governor is sitting atop the heap of the Republican party right now, and he’s not going to miss opportunities to remind people of that,” said Jim Henson of the Texas Politics Project. “He’s the most popular Governor in the state, not just with mainline Republicans, but also Tea Party Republicans.”
“This is a moment for the Governor,” Henson added. “That is, this is a good time for the Governor to engage in public activities, that are mutually reinforcing of his political image, which is, as the leader of the state, the leader of the state should be re-elected, and more importantly, as the leader of the Republican Party for the state.”
Abbott is scheduled to spend the weekend in the Rio Grande Valley by participating in a “block-walking” campaign event in McAllen on Saturday.