Four out of five Republicans believe Gov. Greg Abbott (R) “deserves to be re-elected,” but he is underwater among all registered voters, according to a new Quinnipiac Univ. poll.

A slight majority of registered voters do not believe Abbott deserves re-election, including 54% of independents, 56% of Hispanic/Latino registered voters and 57% of women. However, those same groups are not terribly enthusiastic about a potential challenge from former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso). Half of registered voters do not believe O’Rourke “would make a good governor,” as do 55% of independents and a plurality of Hispanic/Latino respondents (43%). Women are fairly evenly divided, with 41% believing O’Rourke would make a good governor and 39% disagreeing. Actor Matthey McConaughey, whose politics and positions on issues are unknown, generates a similar response.

Therein lies the reason why Abbott is not in any real danger of losing his re-election bid even though a majority of registered voters think he does not deserve re-election. That question is asked in a vacuum. A majority of voters still prefer him to the actual options presented to them.

More than three quarters of Republicans “believe there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, as do 42% of independents. No credible evidence of widespread fraud has been presented. Just over half of registered voters approve of the election “audit” announced by the Secretary of State’s office, which includes four out of five Republicans and 56% of independents. About three in 10 Republicans believe it is “too easy” to vote in Texas, while half of Democrats believe it is “too difficult.”

With regard to how they are handling the border situation, Abbott’s approval is polling 23 points above President Biden’s but is slightly underwater (43/46). Biden’s job approval rating is 32/61, down 13 points from the university’s June poll (45/50).

Redistricting: The Senate Select Redistricting Committee approved an amended map (PDF) for the chamber. SD10 remains spread across several rural counties west of Tarrant Co., making it much friendlier to Republicans than its current configuration, which lies entirely within Tarrant Co. Senate Bill 4 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) will go to the full Senate.

RRC: Comm. Wayne Christian (R), who is up for re-election, was named chair by his colleagues.

SD10: Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC endorsed Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford) for the Republican nomination to challenge Sen. Beverly Powell (D-Burleson).

Tarrant Co. Sheriff Bill Waybourn (R), U.S. Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-Waxahachie) and Arlington Mayor Jim Ross are among more than two dozen local leaders seeking to draft Rep. David Cook (R-Arlington) to run for the seat. “We think this is something that is so important that David should set aside his current plans and run,” Waybourn said in a statement.

SD12: Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC endorsed Rep. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound) for the seat being vacated by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound).

HD77: Rep. Lina Ortega (D-El Paso) announced she would seek re-election.

HD133 open: Houston attorney Mano DeAyala announced he would seek the seat being vacated by Rep. Jim Murphy (R-Houston). DeAyala chairs the Hispanic Republicans of Texas. He previously established a campaign committee for a different Texas House seat in 2012 but ultimately did not file for a place on the ballot.

CD38 open: Houston homebuilder Wesley Hunt (R) announced he would run in the newly created district based on the map introduced in the Senate. Hunt unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-Houston) in 2020 (47%). Cypress gym owner Damien Mockus (R) updated his campaign committee to this seat from CD10.

Election Audit: The Secretary of State’s office described its “full forensic audit” of the 2020 general election in Collin, Dallas, Harris and Tarrant Cos. It is the clearest articulation of an “audit” (PDF) yet presented by Texas officials or lawmakers. The first phase consists of typical activities conducted after every general election, such as ensuring accuracy of tabulation systems and reviewing voter rolls. In the spring, the office will “conduct a comprehensive election records examination” lasting several months “to ensure election administration procedures were properly followed.”

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