Texas Republicans have an opportunity to save their state from the worst effects of a coronavirus pandemic, but the GOP is far from done.
Here are three big things that have changed since last weekend.
Greg Abbott announced Friday that he will seek reelection next year.
He’ll be running in the Democratic primary against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.
He has been one of the most outspoken leaders in the state’s Republican Party since he announced his candidacy last year.
The race has been a big-money race in recent months, with Abbott winning nearly $300,000 in the first quarter of this year, according to the Texas Ethics Commission.
On Friday, Abbott told supporters at a campaign event that he is running to be “the first Republican to take back the Senate” and the first Republican governor in Texas history to win a statewide primary.
A GOP-controlled Legislature will be the biggest obstacle to passing major legislation.
Abbott has already been pushing legislation to roll back abortion rights, roll back public school funding and allow abortions in cases of rape and incest.
He also announced that he would sign legislation to allow transgender individuals to use the bathrooms that align with their gender identity.
“We will not allow a government that is too large and too powerful to stand in the way of the people’s right to know what is in their health care, and to have a voice in their personal lives,” Abbott said.
The GOP-dominated state Senate is likely to be the most difficult to pass.
In recent months the Texas GOP has been in a constant state of gridlock.
The latest setback came on Thursday, when Abbott was forced to shut down the statehouse after the U.N. agency said that the state was no longer a safe haven for the pandemic.
Democrats have argued that the lack of Republicans in the upper chamber could be due to the fact that they have more leverage in the Legislature.
But the GOP control of the Texas Legislature is just one obstacle.
The state is also home to more than 1.5 million people who are eligible for Medicaid and a growing number of Texas’ residents who are uninsured.