Greg Abbott

1 minute read
By Philip Elliott

To the frustration of his political rivals, Greg Abbott is a talented room reader. During his nine years as the governor of Texas, he has proved adept at simultaneously throwing red meat to his conservative base while tempering pushback from the state’s liberal enclaves. All the while, he has masterfully needled Washington, through both unending legal challenges and agitating stunts, such as sending buses of migrants to Democratic cities. Despite some glaring missteps—including his handling of an ice storm that snowballed into an energy crisis, and initially praising the calamitous police response to the Uvalde school shooting—Abbott remains one of his party’s most persuasive pitchmen, especially on immigration, where he’s constantly pushing at the boundaries of what states can do on enforcement. Whether Donald Trump wins or loses this year, Abbott is among the contenders best positioned to eventually pick up the MAGA mantle.

Elliott is a TIME senior correspondent

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