Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott has been elected the first new Texas governor in 14 years in an overwhelming victory over Democrat State Sen. Wendy Davis, whose national star power outshined her flickering candidacy.
In his acceptance speech Tuesday night, Governor-elect Abbott, 56, was flanked by his wife of 33 years, Cecilia, who will be the first Hispanic first lady in the state's history, and his teenage daughter Audrey.
“Tonight Texans sent a message. You voted for hope over fear, for unity over division, for the majesty of what Texas is and what it can be,” Abbott said. "As Texans, the bonds we share transcend our differences."
Folks, stay in line. Your voices will be heard tonight. #MyTexasVotes— Wendy Davis (@WendyDavisTexas) November 5, 2014
Abbott said he had received a concession call from Davis and reassured her that he wanted to make Texas the best state in the union. He then shared that message with a crowd of supporters in Austin and with every Texan statewide.
"Whether you voted for me, against me or didn't vote at all, I'm going to work every single day to keep Texas the best state in the United States of America," Abbott said.
Abbott, who as attorney general was often criticized for defending billions cut from the state's education budget by the legislature, said nothing was more important that providing children the education they need to fill the jobs of tomorrow and vowed to preserve opportunities for Texas children.
"I am living proof that a young man can have his life broken in half and still rise up to be the governor of this great state. As governor, I will insure that Texas remains a state that provides that brand of opportunity to every single Texan," Abbott said.
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Abbott added that opportunities to succeed should not be confined to one part of town and that there are no second-class dreams and there should be no second-class schools.
The governor-elect then went on to say he'll secure the border and do what he needs to do to keep business and job creation going strong in the Lone Star State. As state attorney general, Abbott has stridently defended tough conservative Texas laws over voter ID and abortion.
After the race was called by NBC News and The Associated Press, Abbott's campaign tweeted the following messages to supporters.
"Tonight we celebrate. Tomorrow we go to work. Together we will keep Texas the beacon of opportunity and the greatest state in the United States of America," Abbott said. " Thank you all, God bless you all and may God always bless the great state of Texas."
Wendy Davis Concedes Governor's Race
State Sen. Wendy Davis never gave Greg Abbott a close race despite record-breaking fundraising and supporters nationwide. She was the most high-profile Texas Democrat to run in decades after winning fame with her nearly 13-hour filibuster over new Texas abortion restrictions last year.
Davis vaulted to national prominence thanks to her filibuster of a tough abortion restrictions law last year, and her campaign raised tens of millions of dollars statewide and nationally. But she was considered a heavy underdog to Abbott in a state that hasn't elected a Democrat to statewide office in 20 years.
A teary-eyed Davis has told her supporters in her concession speech Tuesday night that it's OK to be disappointed, but not discouraged, by her loss in the governor's race while asking them to never give up and to keep fighting with her.
Speaking in Fort Worth, Davis called on Democrats to keep fighting for their values and their candidates. She thanked her supporters for never backing down.
Dan Patrick Wins Lt. Gov. Race
Working closely with Abbott will be Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick, a tea party-backed state senator from Houston, who ousted incumbent David Dewhurst in the Republican primary.
Patrick campaigned relatively lightly for the general election but still topped San Antonio Democratic state Senate colleague Leticia Van de Putte.
"We have a responsibility to give educational and economic freedom, so that Texas stays strong until the rest of America wakes up and becomes more like us," Patrick said.
Patrick will now preside over the Legislature's upper chamber and has promised to secure the Texas-Mexico border at all costs — a stance so hard-line that it's drawn rebuke from some of his fellow Republicans.
Gov. Rick Perry, the longest-serving governor in state history, declined to seek a fourth full term while mulling another White House run in 2016.