MARSHALL — Gov. Greg Abbott and Republican challenger Allen West stopped in Marshall on Wednesday to vote in the final week of early voting for Tuesday’s primary.
Abbott and West, the former GOP state chairman, told voters they were crucial in deciding who will be victorious on Tuesday and in the November general election.
“You can’t do your part in the primary election and then think you don’t need to run on election night, November 8,” Abbott said. “I can tell you I’m going to lose Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. I will be far behind in these cities. That’s why we’re counting on Harrison, Smith and Gregg counties to cross the finish line. Your votes count.
Abbott appeared before a packed house at a private campaign event at the Cajun Tex restaurant.
The governor reassured attendees that he is the best choice to champion “East Texas values” amid a crowded governor’s primary race, and especially when compared to former Democratic challenger, former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke.
“I grew up in Longview, Texas, behind the curtain of pines,” Abbott said. “We need a Governor from Behind the Pine Curtain who understands East Texas values.”
Abbott touted accomplishments from previous legislative sessions that he says highlight those values, including two bills banning critical race theory in public school classrooms, pooling National Guard resources at the border between Texas and Mexico and penalizing cities that fund police departments.
The Democratic alternative to O’Rourke, Abbott said, would simply be “cataclysmic”, he said.
Meanwhile, West stopped by Memorial City Hall to share his plans to support and defend the Constitution.
“I don’t take this lightly,” West, also a retired US Army lieutenant colonel, said of his campaign for governor.
West’s meet-and-greet event was hosted by his longtime friend and Harrison County resident, retired U.S. Army General Vernon Lewis.
West said he anticipated a runoff after Tuesday’s primary but would need voter support.
“I would love to win, but it’s up to you,” he told the packed room. “Anyway, all I seek to do is continue to honor the oath that General Lewis and I once swore that we will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.”
Abbott began his overview of key issues with the energy sector, which provides thousands of jobs for northeast Texans. The industry, he said, would be threatened by “Green New Deal” policies and job cuts if O’Rourke took over.
When it comes to education, Abbott said he wants to promote the role of parents as “primary decision makers” in their children’s education and health care. The move is in response to what Abbott called a “socialist agenda” by “radical leftists” to change the school curriculum regarding America’s place in world affairs, he said.
Governor said cities across the United States that have funded police have seen increased crime, which is why he backed a bill to strip state funding from any city in Texas that decided to take similar measures.
On immigration and border security, Abbott promised he would continue to work to build a wall between Texas and Mexico, “faster and cheaper” than former President Donald Trump, this time with funding of State.
West, meanwhile, told his supporters that it was important for the future generation to understand the service, sacrifice and commitment that was made. Hearing others make derogatory comments about American culture makes him even more frustrated as he reflects on his own life of achieving the American dream, as a black man, despite having a segregated start.
“Here in Texas, we don’t think of you as white, black, Hispanic, Asian – we just want to know what’s in your heart, the mind of Texas, and that’s why so many people are here,” he said.
Speaking on Critical Race Theory, West shared his disapproval of the University of Texas and Texas A&M University faculties deciding to pass a resolution in favor of teaching Cultural Marxism and Critical Theory. of race, which was developed in the 1970s to explain how systemic racism shaped the American legal system.
“Now is our time,” he said. “You will be defined in the history books. Your children and grandchildren will look at you and say, “What have you done in this year of 2022, for the State of Texas? …Because if we don’t protect and defend Texas, we will lose America. You lose America, you lose freedom.
Speaking of border security, West said the federal government is so concerned with protecting the sovereignty of other countries that what happens at home is overlooked. He noted that the number of suicides and other problems endured by the Texas National Guardsmen are due to a lack of leadership and the horrific conditions they face.
“They don’t have enough gear, they don’t have enough ammunition,” West said. “They swap magazines when they go out… They’re told if they get shot, they can’t fire back.” Who would put our Texas men and women in a situation where the cartels shoot at them from across the border and they’re told they can’t fight back?”
Abbott and West also face former state senator Don Huffines, Paul Belew, Daniel Harrison, Kandy Kaye Horn, Rick Perry and Chad Prather in the Republican primary.
Early voting in Tuesday’s primary ends Friday.