“Private businesses don’t need the government running their business,” said Gov. Greg Abbot’s spokeswoman just two months before he decided to instate a ban on mandated vaccinations by private employers in Texas.
For people who watched Abbot rise, they knew the sudden intrusion into business decisions was completely out of character for The Governor.
“He was conservative with a small ‘c’ — that is, careful,” said Robert Stein, a Rice University professor of political science in an interview with The New York Times.
Why the sudden change of heart?
Abbott went from a mask mandate last year to a ban on such orders this spring. So, why the sudden change of heart?
Even though the decision was criticized by major Texas business groups and from powerful players in local Republican politics, times had changed and ‘evolving’ alongside the pandemic Mr. Abbott realized corporate interests were out and cultural concerns were in.
Abbott “doing what’s right” did not go over well with some conservatives and gave his Republican challengers an issue.
The governor also called for and signed into law restrictions on transgender athletes after appearing content, four years earlier, to watch bathroom restrictions on transgender Texans fail in the face of opposition from businesses, as reported by The New York Times.
In June, Mr. Abbott announced his intentions to construct a border wall after being pushed by Donald Blaine Huffines, his most vocal primary opponent, who in May called for the state to build one.
The Stakes are high.
The Governor is feeling some heat from the Republican Party and Texas business circles as he gets ready to go up against his most well-known and well-funded Democratic challenger yet, Beto O’Rourke.
How far-right is Abbott willing to go? And will it be enough to go against the democratic tide rolling into Texas?
For now, Abbott joined Dan Patrick, backing perhaps the most conservative legislative sessions in Texas history. Doing so with a $60 million campaign war chest – an early endorsement from Former U.S President, Donald Trump, as reported by The New York Times.