By Isla Knightley | | 4 mins
Texas Governor Odds: Democrats In Trouble As Abbott Holds Big Edge
The battle lines in Texas are now drawn: Republican governor Gregg Abbott will face Democrat Beto O’Rourke, a former U.S. congressman and presidential candidate, in the Texas gubernatorial race. But if the political odds are any indication, it’s hardly shaping up to be a compelling or close race at all.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made a bold prediction in San Antonio, Texas in February, saying “Texas turning blue is inevitable.” The New York lawmaker was making a campaign stop in support of congressional hopefuls Jessica Cisneros and Greg Casar where she added that “if we flip Texas, we flip the country.”
Whether AOC’s prophecy comes true, remains to be seen. However, as far as the betting goes, clearly, the same sentiment isn’t being echoed at the sportsbook exchange.
UK-based bookmaker Ladbrokes tips two-term governor Abbott as the runaway favorite at -600 as he seeks to clinch a third straight term in office. O’Rourke faces an uphill battle as the staggering +600 underdog on betting apps to become the first Democrat governor in Texas since 1994.
Although political betting is not legal in the United States, it is over in Europe, where sports betting sites offer political betting odds such as these, known as “specials.” American news media often cites these numbers.
2022 Texas Governor Odds
Odds courtesy of Ladbrokes, current as of April 19, 2022
Texas, A Republican Stronghold
Gov. Greg Abbott was always the GOP frontrunner in Texas and he never seemed threatened, despite facing multiple conservative challengers. He easily got his party’s nod in the GOP primary last month, a move underscored by the value of incumbency, along with consistently high approval ratings among Republicans and voters, and having the endorsement of former president Donald Trump.
Historically, midterm elections have served as a referendum on the first half of the sitting president’s administration. The current administration has struggled to “Build Back Better” with the ongoing pandemic that seemingly has no end in sight, economic plans that clash with the reality of rising inflation, and several foreign policy crises that have proven to be both political and economic nightmares domestically for president Joe Biden.
The GOP, which suffered hefty losses in 2020, is eager to capitalize on the growing domestic unrest and widespread disenfranchisement by reasserting itself during this primary season, which picks up steam in the summer. A victory for Abbott in America’s largest Republican state is therefore going to be one of several necessary gains that the party needs to make on the road to the 2024 US Elections.
Democrats Are Now Long Shots
Beto O’Rourke’s ambition to seize the governor’s mansion is a long-shot bet priced at +600 according to UK online sportsbooks. Once upon a time, O’Rourke was the darling of the Democrats, who inspired a blue wave in Texas that very nearly deposed Ted Cruz from his senatorial perch in 2018. Recapturing that momentum is easier said than done. Certainly, oddsmakers aren’t putting much stock in it.
O’Rourke comfortably won his party’s nod, but he faces an uphill battle in the Republican stronghold. The national landscape, Biden’s growing unpopularity in Texas and his own defeats in previous campaigns are just some of the things that stack the odds against him. In fact, his odds haven’t improved since winning the Democratic primary, which is telling. He went into the primary last month as the +600 bet to win the governor’s mansion. He remains the +600 bet today.
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