(SNews) – Incumbent Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott has crushed Democrat challenger Beto O’Rourke in the state’s gubernatorial race.

The election has been projected in Abbott’s favor after the governor soared ahead by almost one million votes over O’Rourke.

At the time of press, Gov. Abbott has 55 percent of the vote while O’Rourke trails behind with just 43.6%.

The easy victory means Abbott will remain in the governor’s mansion for a third term.

O’Rourke is a former congressman from El Paso who also launched an unsuccessful bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

He grabbed national attention for nearly upsetting conservative Sen. Ted Cruz in the state’s 2018 Senate showdown.

This year, he was hoping to become the first Democrat to win a gubernatorial election in Texas in over three decades.

He failed, again, however.

He showcased his proposals promoting public education and reducing gun violence, in the wake of the horrific Uvalde, Texas, shooting.

O’Rourke’s gubernatorial campaign pounced on the incident that 19 elementary school students and two teachers were fatally shot.

He also criticized the governor for last year’s electricity grid failure across the state and for signing an extremely strict abortion law.

Abbott, the conservative former longtime state attorney general, touted the state’s economy, his tough stance on the issues of border security and illegal immigration, and crime, and targeted O’Rourke for his pivots on issues such as gun control, as he ran for re-election.

O’Rourke enjoyed ferocious fundraising during his campaign, even outpacing Abbott in the homestretch and erasing the Texas governor’s once formidable cash advantage.

Nevertheless, Abbott consistently topped his Democratic challenger in nearly every public opinion poll in the race.

With a third straight gubernatorial victory in one the largest red state in the nation, political pundits will increasingly view Abbott as a potential 2024 Republican presidential hopeful.

Aides to the Texas governor have insisted that Abbott has no intention of running for the White House next cycle and that he’s laser-focused on Texas.

But it was also very evident that during his re-election run, Abbott campaigned as much against President Joe Biden and national Democrats nearly as much as he did against O’Rourke.

The moves appeared to be an indication of his possible national ambitions.

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