Beto O’Rourke Announces Bid To Take On Greg Abbott In The 2022 Texas Gubernatorial Race

“I’m running for governor,” he tweeted along with a video announcement. “Together, we can overcome the small and divided politics we see in Texas today – and return to the big, bold vision that once defined Texas. A Texas big enough for all. we.”
When launching a campaign, many Democrat in Texas was determined to be the party’s only chance to reject Abbott for a third term, O’Rourke – an El Paso native and former punk artist who founded an internet services company and served on the city council before being elected to Congress in 2011 – is making his third run in four years.

His first statewide run in Texas, a lengthy Senate campaign against Republican Ted Cruz in 2018, electrified Democrats in a state where the party rarely competitive within a generation.

He rose from being a little-known congressman to raise money for generators, setting an all-time record at the time for the most money raised for a Senate bid. And he did it with a relatively simple campaign structure, mostly driving to campaign events across the state with two employees and live-streaming it all on Facebook.

O’Rourke’s near miss in the Senate race – he finished 3 percentage points less than Cruz – resulted in a short-term presidential election next year. By the time he dropped out of the race in October 2019, Democrats in Texas were openly thinking about him becoming a candidate for governor in 2022.

This time, however, O’Rourke faces longer odds. In 2018, with then-President Donald Trump in the White House, the political environment was extremely favorable for Democrats. In 2022, midway through Biden’s presidency, Republicans hope the midterm elections will sweep them to power in Washington and the states.

In the two-minute video announcing his campaign, O’Rourke uses February’s Texas power grid failure during a severe winter storm to criticize Abbott’s leadership, saying those without electricity and water “abandoned by those elected to serve and look out for them.”

“When the grid went down and all of us lost power, it was the Texans who were willing to put aside their differences and get to work on it, which meant helping our fellow Texans. I overcame that crisis,” he said. “We do it out of obligation and responsibility to each other. Now imagine if the governor of Texas felt the same way.”

He said Abbott and Republicans in Austin have failed to address the larger issues, including expanding Medicaid, legalizing marijuana, improving the electrical grid and improving schools.

“Instead, they’re focusing on the kinds of extreme policies around abortion or unlicensed pregnancies or even in our schools that are really just dividing us and keeping us apart and preventing us from doing so. We work together on really big things that we want to achieve for one another,” he said. “It’s a really small vision for a big country. But it doesn’t have to be.”

O’Rourke’s support in Texas remains deeply rooted among Democratic loyalists, many of whom have never removed their black and white “Beto” yard signs and bumper stickers. . But with Democrats on the defensive on a much larger playing field, it’s not clear he’ll be able to tap into the same kind of national fundraising he did in 2018.

However, O’Rourke pointed himself in the opposite direction of Abbott for months.

He has harshly criticized the governor’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the new law effectively banning abortion in Texas, the state’s new restrictive voting law and more.

In social media posts, emails to the political group Supported By People, and live streams, he criticized Abbott. In March, live-streaming on Facebook from his mother’s home, O’Rourke praised Abbott’s handling of a winter storm that shut down a large portion of the Texas power grid and said the governor had taken action. unconscionable, unforgivable”, finally its mask duty and allow all businesses to open at full capacity.

O’Rourke said in the video: “Our governor has come out of the war. He has surrendered to the virus. He will allow it to rage in this state,” O’Rourke said in the video. “We’re separate now. But we’re not alone – we’re together. And it can be a cold comfort, but let’s take what we have right now and we Let’s work together.”

In October, when Abbott banned all businesses in the state from imposing Covid-19 vaccine mandates, O’Rourke similarly criticized.

“Abbot’s latest anti-scientific, anti-public health order is creating more chaos and confusion,” he said on Twitter. “Businesses need every tool at their disposal to survive the pandemic and keep workers and customers safe.”

One question O’Rourke will face if he tries to run another statewide run in Texas is whether his disappointing run for president, and the positions he takes in campaign, hurt him or not.

After a white extremist gunman targeted Latinos and killed 23 people at an El Paso Walmart in August 2019, O’Rourke speak Offensive weapons should be outlawed and the government should confiscate those weapons that are currently in legal possession.
“Oh yeah, we’ll take your AR-15, your AK-47,” he said during a presidential debate in September 2019. “We will not allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.”
But in Texas, where guns Ingrained in the state’s culture and mythology, the Republican said those comments – as well as the progressive stances he took on immigration, including saying he would tear down the picture. wall between Mexico and Texas, told reporters that his failure to make his homeland any safer on the border would do serious damage to future O’Rourke operations.

Abbott used O’Rourke’s comments from the presidential race on issues like gun control, the Green New Deal, healthcare reform, immigration and the Black Lives Matter movement – generally speaking out of context – in a series of ads he posted on. YouTube is called “Wrong Way O’Rourke”.

Likewise, the Republican Governors Association previewed the attacks against O’Rourke in a statement outlining the policies he supported as a presidential candidate.

“Texas voters rejected Beto O’Rourke for statewide office, and they will do so again when they learn how radical he really is,” said RGA spokeswoman Joanna Rodriguez. . “Beto 2.0 declares arms confiscation from law-abiding citizens, pledges to tear down physical barriers along the border, and advocates for regulations that could kill more than a million jobs statewide, tax and cost-of-living increases for families and small businesses There is no telling how far Beto 3.0 will go in his futile efforts to stay relevant after promotions run out to pursued in Washington.”

This story has been updated with additional information.


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