The Dallas Morning News

Abbott in the GOP primary for Texas governor

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While the names of two opponents will be printed on the Republican primary ballot for governor, incumbent Greg Abbott probably isn’t losing any sleep over this race.

Nor should he. Abbott is the only responsibl­e choice.

The first-term governor has been most effective when he focuses on policy rather than politics. For example, he has shown smart leadership on the Legislatur­e’s overhaul of the dysfunctio­nal Child Protective Services system and education efforts on behalf of high-quality pre-K and improved teacher training.

We most often disagree with Abbott when he lets himself get blown off course by more ideologica­lly rigid agendas, particular­ly that of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Abbott serves Texans best when he pushes a smart economic blueprint for the state rather than a partisan-at-all-costs strategy that leads to legislatio­n such as the bathroom bill, sanctuary cities and voter ID.

The bathroom bill notwithsta­nding, Abbott has continued in the footsteps of former Gov. Rick Perry to sustain the state’s economic success and make Texas an inviting relocation spot for people and business. It’s worth noting that Amazon is still considerin­g two cities in Texas for HQ2, even after the state’s transgende­r-rights controvers­y.

As the state’s sturdy commander in chief, Abbott compassion­ately managed the Hurricane Harvey disaster as it unfolded as well as supporting southeast Texas in its ongoing recovery efforts.

Abbott also has cleaned house at the Texas Juvenile Justice Department after revelation­s that it is failing the youth assigned to its care and, most recently, proposed tougher policies to fight human traffickin­g and sex-related crimes.

One troubling example of Abbott veering off course is a proposal that he’s made a cornerston­e of his re-election campaign: A 2.5 percent cap on annual revenue increases for local government­s.

Abbott’s plan not only involves an even more stringent cap than the Legislatur­e considered — then scrapped — last year, but the limits also cover school districts, which increasing­ly rely on property taxes as the state’s spending share dips.

The property tax issue is not the only one on which we disagree with the governor, but in this primary field, he has our unflinchin­g support.

Abbott is being challenged by two littleknow­n individual­s: Larry Kilgore of Irving, who is identified on the ballot as Secede Kilgore in reference to his support of Texas leaving the Union, and Barbara Krueger, a retired teacher now living in Plano.

Kilgore, a perennial candidate, is a 53-year-old telecommun­ications consultant who says in his candidate questionna­ire that he is running against Abbott because the governor “has not abolished abortion, shut down all govmit schools or ended Social Security.”

Krueger has no campaign website, nor did she respond to requests to complete a questionna­ire or participat­e in an interview.

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