Abbott from Texas says Californians who come to the state tend to be conservative

(Bloomberg) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told fellow conservatives they need not worry about California and New York transplants turning the state blue ahead of his re-election.

Abbott spoke about strong job creation in the state and the influx of new businesses and residents, particularly from California, at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas on Thursday. He also suggested that many California newcomers are conservative and that liberal Texans have settled on the West Coast.

“We have an exchange program going on,” Abbott joked to cheers from the crowd. “We get the California conservatives, we send them our liberals.”

Abbott’s remarks highlight the fear of some longtime Texas residents that newcomers from coastal cities could bring liberal politics from their home country.

Abbott’s popularity has declined during his tenure, and a recent poll showed that 36% of Texans rate him as highly unfavorable, compared to 19% who say he is highly supportive. The outgoing two-term governor addressed a half-empty room.

Poll shows Abbott set to defeat Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, though his lead has narrowed in recent months after events like the Uvalde school shooting and the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the law national abortion.

While many transplants in Texas come from places on the left like California and New York, they have proven to be more conservative than expected. Newcomers voted for Republican Ted Cruz in his 2018 Senate re-election bid at a higher rate than those born in the state, according to a CNN exit poll.

Many top companies have moved or planned big expansions in the state in recent years, including Tesla Inc’s new headquarters in Austin, Samsung Electronics Co’s $17 billion chip facility in Taylor, and the Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s new office tower in Dallas. Many of these business expansions are creating new, high-paying jobs, which will ultimately drive up housing prices and other living costs in a state that has long used affordability as a lure.

Texas wages are climbing, closing the gap with Silicon Valley

During his CPAC appearance, Abbott spoke about his efforts to secure the border, which has been one of his top priorities as he campaigns for re-election on Nov. 8 against O’Rourke. He also said parents should have a say in their children’s education, which has been a policy priority for Republicans in Texas as they focus on school choice and ban books. that involve gender and identity.

At the state’s GOP convention in June, the governor chose to speak at a separate event across the street from where most of the activity was taking place. He faced opposition within his own party and ran against a handful of candidates in the primary race in March. Many Republicans are unhappy with the governor for his use of executive power during the pandemic.

CPAC brings together various high-profile conservatives and Republicans to discuss politics at conferences across the country. The group kicked off its four-day conference in Dallas on Thursday.

Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton, Senator Ted Cruz and U.S. Representative Mayra Flores will also speak at CPAC, alongside Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and former President Donald Trump.

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