Former President Donald Trump endorsed Gov. Greg Abbott’s 2022 reelection bid Tuesday, a key endorsement for the Republican governor less than two weeks after receiving a primary challenger.
Trump praised Abbott’s policies on guns, immigration, jobs, law enforcement and crime.
“Greg Abbott is a fighter and a great governor for the incredible people of Texas,” Trump wrote in an email to supporters. “No governor has done more to secure the border and keep our communities safe than Governor Abbott.”
“Governor Greg Abbott will continue to be a great leader for the Lone Star State, and has my complete and total endorsement for re-election,” the email continued. “He will never let you down!”
Abbott is seeking a third term, and the endorsement comes a day after the Texas Legislature adjourned for the regular session.
The governor has promised to call lawmakers back this year to address GOP priorities on elections and bail reform, although he has kept quiet about when he’ll do so. Abbott on Monday also suggested he will veto a portion of the budget that funds the Legislature after Democrats walked out of the House chamber and killed the GOP elections bill.
In a statement Tuesday, Abbott thanked Trump for the endorsement.
“I am proud of the work we have done together to secure our border, bring more jobs to Texas, and protect the freedoms that make America and Texas great — and we are just getting started,” Abbott said. “I thank President Trump for his leadership, and I will continue to fight for the values that make Texas the greatest state in America.”
Trump’s endorsement will make for a difficult path forward for any Republican challenger in the Lone Star State, where Trump defeated President Joe Biden by nearly 6 percentage points in 2020.
So far, former state Sen. Don Huffines, a Republican from Dallas has jumped in the race.
Huffines, a wealthy real estate developer, represented northern Dallas County in the Senate and has been a vocal critic of Abbott’s leadership during the coronavirus pandemic, saying the governor was too slow to lift business restrictions.
Huffines was among the most conservative Republicans during his single term in the Senate from 2015 to 2019 after ousting a moderate incumbent, John Carona, in the GOP primary.
Moments after Trump’s endorsement, Huffines called himself “the clear Trump candidate” in the governor’s race.
“My family and I have supported President Trump since 2016,” Huffines said in a statement. “My brother and I raised money for him, my children worked on his campaigns, and we continue to be staunch supporters of the president’s mission to put America First.”
No other well-known Republican or Democrat has launched a candidacy. Actor Matthew McConaughey also has expressed interest, but it’s not clear if he’d run as a Republican, Democrat or independent.
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