A police officer attempts to restrain Beto O'Rourke as he confronts Greg Abbott, who is seated on a dais. Behind Greg Abbott, the Uvalde mayor points angrily at O'Rourke.
AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills

Months after Massacre, Uvalde County Turns Out for Greg Abbott

Uvaldeans voted resoundingly for the incumbent—who opposes even common sense gun control—over Democrat Beto O’Rourke by a 22-point margin

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Five and half months after the worst school shooting in Texas history took place in their backyard, Uvalde County voters turned out resoundingly Tuesday night for GOP Governor Greg Abbott, who opposes even common-sense gun control measures. Republican domination in the county prevails despite months of agitation for gun control and transparency by the families of children lost at the Robb Elementary massacre on May 24.

With all precincts reporting, Uvaldeans voted for Abbott over Democrat Beto O’Rourke—who supports gun control and has campaigned with help from Uvalde families—by a 22-point margin. By contrast, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz beat O’Rourke in the county in 2018 by only 10. Abbott also bested both of ex-President Donald Trump’s margins from 2016 and 2020, and the governor even narrowly improved on his margin over his 2018 underfunded challenger Lupe Valdez.

At 45 percent, turnout for the top-of-ballot race in Uvalde County was one point lower than in 2018. Republicans also flipped the county clerk seat, though longtime Democratic County Judge Bill Mitchell held his seat by 19 points.

In one race for county commissioner, Javier Cazares—who lost his daughter Jackie in the May 24 tragedy—ran as a write-in candidate. He pulled 16 percent of the vote, but came in third as another write-in candidate who owns a local restaurant pulled 34 percent. Mariano Pargas, the incumbent commissioner who was also acting city police chief at the shooting scene, was nevertheless reelected with 45 percent of the vote.

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These election results come after families of the Robb Elementary victims, over the course of recent months, banded together to organize the largest protest their town had seen in half a century, convinced the city council of nearby Hondo to cancel an event affiliated with the National Rifle Association, joined survivors of other mass shootings to push bipartisan gun legislation through Congress and an assault weapons ban through the U.S. House, and cut a political ad for O’Rourke. The family members and Democratic lawmakers are promising to continue the fight for gun control in next year’s legislative session.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story stated that a Uvalde County commissioner race appeared headed for a runoff. That’s incorrect; the incumbent won outright with a plurality of the vote. The Observer regrets the error.