McALLEN — With news of record-breaking turnout among Democrats across the state this election season, Gov. Greg Abbott made a stop here to make a push for Republican supporters to vote.
Abbott, appearing before a crowd at the Hidalgo County GOP Headquarters, began by repeating the contention that no other governor has visited the Rio Grande Valley, traditionally a Democratic stronghold, as often as he has.
“There is a very strong wind out there today,” he said. “But you know what that wind is? Those are winds of change that will bring in Republican voters.”
Abbott stumped specifically for Ernest “Ernie” Aliseda, running for chief justice of the 13th Court of Appeals, and Jaime Tijerina, running for Place 4 also on the 13th Court of Appeals.
“I know the important role that judges play in the state of Texas in our society,” said Abbott who previously served as a justice on the state supreme court. “We have with us candidates who will ensure the rule of law and the constitution of the state of Texas and the United States of America will be upheld.”
The challenges facing the state, he said, are the efforts to change Texas to “a liberal shade of blue,” he said to resounding boos. “We are going to fight back and we are going to keep Texas red.”
But in order to do that, the governor reminded the crowd, Republican voters will need to exceed the turnout of Democratic voters which has reportedly surged 200 percent in Harris County alone, according to the Texas Tribune.
Abbott also touched on his own re-election campaign, delivering a rundown of a moderate platform that includes more support for veterans through tax write-offs to assist those who launch their own businesses, expanding healthcare access through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and petitioning the federal government for a VA Hospital in the Valley.
He also advocated for raises to teachers’ salaries and assured the teachers in the room that the state would fully fund the teacher healthcare plan.
“The time has come to pay our teachers more, to pay them the salary they deserve to teach our kids,” he said, mentioning that his own wife is a former teacher.
Abbott also used the opportunity to tout the state’s economic growth in terms of jobs added and rising wages.
“The Texas economy has now grown so large that if Texas were its own country, we would have the 10th largest economy in the entire world,” he said to cheers, adding that it was larger than Russia’s economy. “And that makes me more powerful than Putin,” he said, referring to the Russian president.
“There’s so much more that we need to do for Texas,” he said. “But to do that, it starts at the ballot box.”