- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 11, 2021

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he would take actor Matthew McConaughey seriously if he challenges him in 2022, but the Republican feels he is in a good position to defeat all comers.

“It doesn’t matter what the name is, I take everybody very seriously, and it shows,” he told “Fox News Sunday.” “I will tell you two things, and that is if you look at my polling numbers, they are very, very strong. In addition to that, I have $55 million in the bank already, and I’m a very aggressive fund-raiser.”

“So I will have the resources and the backing of a lot of people across the state of Texas to ensure that whoever decides to run against me, we will be able to win,” he said.

Mr. McConaughey, an Oscar winner known for his laid-back style and love of all things Texas, has hinted at a centrist run for governor. 

He says most people take down-the-middle stances, despite the din of today’s political debates.

“We’re running the ship. Now, there’s a couple of militia pirate groups that are coming over on the far right and the far left and we’re being told that they’re the absolute boogeyman and we better be scared,” the actor recently told the “Commune” Podcast. “Let’s kick ‘em off the boat. Don’t let ‘em board.”

Mr. Abbott faces more immediate challenges. 

He is pushing state Republicans to overcome Democratic opposition and pass a sweeping voting overhaul during a special legislative session.

Among other things, the bill would prohibit elections officials from sending absentee ballot applications to voters who never requested them and tighten up voter-ID rules for mail-in ballots.

“What Texas is doing is we’re making it easier to vote by adding more hours of early voting than we had in current law, but also making it harder to cheat with regard to mail-in ballots,” Mr. Abbott told Fox.

Fox host Chris Wallace pressed Mr. Abbott on why the bill would ban things like 24-hour voting and drive-through voting, which proved popular in the Houston area.

“Harris County, under the Constitution, is not allowed to come up with their own rules. What Texas is doing where, by adding more hours, we’re making it easier for people to go vote,” Mr. Abbott said.

The governor said it is difficult to have poll monitors stationed at sites for 24 hours. He fears that if districts offer drive-in options, there will be people in the vehicle who have a coercive effect on the voter.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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