Could Greg Abbott be our next vice president? After the governor’s endorsement of Donald Trump last week, the chatter around the topic picked up once again.
Border security is likely to play a big role in next year’s election. As a conservative governor of a border state, some believe Abbott could boost the nominee’s messaging for the GOP – no matter who that nominee ultimately turns out to be.
Abbott has remained tight-lipped about a potential VP run, but he has made some moves that analysts say set him up for national office. Asher Price, a writer for Axios who’s been talking with experts about Abbott’s VP chances, joined the Standard to tell us more.
This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity:
Texas Standard: You spoke with one expert who mentioned that Governor Abbott checks many of the boxes for a vice presidential candidate. Could you say more about what you’re hearing when it comes to whether or not Abbott’s a strong contender?
Asher Price: I think, generally speaking, these VP candidates or potential nominees fall into two camps. One is someone who kind of amplifies a candidate’s message. Governor Abbott, as you said, is from a border state. Given how major of an issue immigration is, he can amplify a presidential candidate’s message, but he also brings specific things to the table.
He’s got a national profile. Governor Abbott is a prolific fundraiser. He’s shown himself capable of being an attack dog. If you think of likely Republican nominee Donald Trump as having an ego, Greg Abbott can kind of deliver lines that are necessary and get out of the way.
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Now, you mentioned border politics. Governor Abbott seems to be very much focused on this issue of education savings accounts, what critics call school vouchers, although he hasn’t had much success here in Texas. Do any of these local issues – these issues that Abbott’s been really bearing down on – really resonate on the national stage?
Yeah, I think one way of reading the tea leaves about Abbott’s actions lately is that he’s in a good position for national politics – in a way better position nationally than in the state.
He’s struck out time and again on school vouchers. But Republicans nationally are in favor of school vouchers. So, one way of viewing his quixotic effort to get Texas lawmakers to pass some school choice legislation is that it’s something he can point to if he’s on the national stage.
There are other smaller things, like after the October 7th attacks in Israel, he made a trip to Israel to show his support. He was trying to signal his support for Israel and show that he’s burnishing his foreign policy credentials.
But Abbott’s campaign consultant told Axios that they doubt he would consider a vice presidential run “even for a minute.” Could he be thinking about maybe another role in Washington?
That’s right. I talked to a couple of people close to the campaign who sort of threw cold water on the prospect. I think, though, if a presidential candidate asked Greg Abbott to be a running mate, that would be a tough choice for the governor.
He’s been in state politics here for a long time. He won reelection in 2022 by double digits. He’s conquered the governorship, and he might be looking for something new to do. Having that spot next to the president might be quite tempting for Greg Abbott.
Any obvious reasons Governor Abbott might choose not to run?
I think the most glaring thing is his position on abortion. He called for and signed a law that virtually banned abortion in the state. We’ve seen across the country that the electorate is in favor of expanding abortion choice. So, having Greg Abbott on the ticket might pull voters in the other direction.