Texas’s Abbott Says Californians Coming to State Tend to Be Conservative

(Bloomberg) - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told his Conservatives not to worry about transplants from California and New York that would turn the state blue ahead of his re-election.
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Abbott spoke Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas on strong job creation and the influx of new businesses and residents, particularly from California. He also implied that many of California's newcomers were conservative and that liberal Texans had moved to the West Coast.
"We have an exchange program going on," Abbott said jokingly as the crowd cheered. "We get the California conservatives, we send them our liberals."
Abbott's comments underscore fears among some longtime Texas residents that newcomers from the coastal cities may bring liberal politics from their home states.
Abbott's popularity has waned over his tenure, and a recent poll found that 36% of Texans rate him as very unfavorable, compared to 19% who say he is very positive. The two-term governor addressed a half-empty room.
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Polls show Abbott is expected to defeat Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke, though his lead has narrowed in recent months following events like the Uvalde school shooting and the US Supreme Court's repeal of nationwide abortion rights.
While many transplants to Texas have come from left-leaning places like California and New York, they've turned out to be more conservative than thought. Newcomers voted for Republican Ted Cruz in his 2018 Senate reelection bid at a higher rate than those born in the state, according to a CNN poll.
Numerous high-profile companies have relocated to the state or planned major expansions in recent years, including Tesla Inc.'s new Austin headquarters, Samsung Electronics Co.'s $17 billion chip factory in Taylor, and Goldman's new office tower Sachs Group Inc. of Dallas. Many of these business expansions bring new, high-paying jobs that ultimately drive up prices for housing and other living expenses in a state that has long used affordability as an attraction.
Texas salaries are rising, closing the gap with Silicon Valley
During his appearance at CPAC, Abbott spoke about his efforts to secure the border, which was one of his top priorities while he was campaigning for re-election against O'Rourke on Nov. 8. He also said parents should have a say in their children's education, which has been a political priority for Texas Republicans given their focus on school choices and banning books that involve gender and identity.
At the state GOP conference 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 in March. Many Republicans are unhappy with the governor for his exercise of executive power during the pandemic.
CPAC brings together a variety of high-profile Conservatives and Republicans to discuss policy at conferences across the country. The group kicked off its four-day conference in Dallas on Thursday.
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton, Senator Ted Cruz and US Representative Mayra Flores will also speak at the CPAC alongside Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and former President Donald Trump.
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