O’Rourke’s decision to difficulty Gov. Greg Abbott ends months of speculation and gives democrats a formidable campaigner at the peak of the ticket — who who revolutionized Texas national politics with his blockbuster campaign against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018.

through Patrick Svitek Nov. 15, 20217 AM main


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previous U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, speaks at “Texans Rally because that Our voting Rights” in ~ the Texas Capitol in Austin on might 8, 2021. Credit: Montinique Monroe because that The Texas Tribune
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Beto O’Rourke is to run for governor, complicated Republican Greg Abbott in a clash of 2 of Texas’ biggest politicians.

“I’m to run to serve the world of Texas, and also I desire to make certain that we have actually a branch that serves everyone, help to bring this state together to do the really large things before us and get previous the small, divisive politics and policies the Greg Abbott,” O’Rourke stated in one interview v The Texas Tribune. “It is time because that change.”

The former El Paso congressman, 2018 U.S. Senate nominee and 2020 presidential contender said he was to run for governor to enhance public schools, health and wellness care and jobs in Texas. Yet O’Rourke likewise took spicy aim at Abbott’s record, citing brand-new laws he backed this year the ban most abortions in Texas, tighten voting rules and permit permitless carry of handguns. He also criticized Abbott over the February power grid failure that left most of the state without electricity in subfreezing temperatures and his an answer to the coronavirus pandemic that has recently been focused on fighting vaccine and also mask mandates.


In a video clip announcing his campaign Monday morning, O"Rourke concentrates heavily top top the net failure, speak Texans to be "abandoned through those who were chosen to serve and also look out for them." O’Rourke said in the interview the Abbott “has stopped listening to and also trusting the world of Texas.”

“He doesn’t trust women to make their health care decisions, doesn’t trust police chiefs as soon as they call him not to authorize the permitless lug bill right into law, he doesn’t trust voters so he transforms the rule of our elections, and also he doesn’t trust regional communities,” O’Rourke said, referring to Abbott’s policies avoiding local officials indigenous making their very own pandemic rules.

O’Rourke’s decision to get in the gyeongju ends months of speculation and also gives democrats a formidable campaigner at the peak of the ticket — who who reinvented Texas politics with his blockbuster campaign versus U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. The clock has actually been ticking, through the candidate filing deadline for the march 2022 primary much less than a month away.

Abbott"s project reacted come O"Rourke"s launch by yoking the to chairman Joe Biden, publication an animated image of O"Rourke morphing right into Biden.


"The last thing Texans need is president Biden’s radical free agenda comes to Texas under the guise that Beto O’Rourke," Abbott project spokesperson note Miner said in a statement. "The comparison for the direction of Texas can not be clearer."

Abbott self blasted O"Rourke during an unrelated occasion Monday morning in Floresville, likening him to U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of brand-new York, a self-styled autonomous socialist. With his presidential campaign, Abbott told reporters, O"Rourke "showed the he really was not so much a Democrat together he was a socialist — he is a component of the Ocasio-Cortez wing of the Democrat Party, and that is hostile to the state of Texas."

Abbott has currently been campaigning versus O’Rourke as as well liberal for Texas, branding the “Wrong method O’Rourke” and seizing on multiple location he has actually taken due to the fact that last running statewide. At the height of the list is O’Rourke’s proposal to require buybacks of assault weapons during his presidential campaign. That resulted in a memorable moment on the controversy stage in which O’Rourke proclaimed that, “Hell yes, we’re going come take your AR-15, her AK-47.”

O’Rourke claimed he was no backing far from the proposal in his latest campaign.


“I think most Texans deserve to agree — perhaps all Texans have the right to agree — the we should not see our friends, our household members, our neighbors, shooting up v weapons that were originally designed for use on a battlefield,” stated O’Rourke, who hometown the El Paso was the website of one anti-Latino mass shooting in 2019 by a gunman who killed 23 people.

The gubernatorial gyeongju marks O’Rourke’s third campaign in as numerous election cycles — and also it is unfolding in a much various context 보다 his first statewide run 3 years ago. That is now famous to Texas voters, and polls show more voters have a an adverse opinion the him 보다 a confident one. The national atmosphere is also working against him this time, v President Joe Biden, a fellow Democrat, deep unpopular in Texas.

While Abbott’s approval rating has actually sunk to its shortest levels since he an initial became governor in 2014, O’Rourke starts together an underdog. The latest university of Texas/Texas Tribune poll found O’Rourke rolling Abbott by 9 percentage points.

Asked just how he to be approaching this project compared to the 2018 one, O’Rourke said he would certainly be taking his cues native Texans.


“A huge lesson that ns take from anything I’ve to be a part of that’s done well is you gotta save the focus on people,” O’Rourke said. “And if this becomes about a single candidate or political party rather of the people of Texas, it’s just not gonna work.”

To manage his campaign, O"Rourke has actually selected Nick Rathod, a democratic operative indigenous Virginia who functioned in the Barack Obama presidential administration. Rathod more recently was founder and also executive director of the State creation Exchange, a nonprofit that helps state legislators craft gradual policy.

O’Rourke is an altering up at the very least a pair of methods for the race.

This time he said he plan to operation ads that attract a comparison with Abbott, something he did not do against Cruz till the last weeks the the race. O’Rourke additionally suggested the is open to using polling — which the eschewed in 2018 — to “make informed decisions around where us deploy resources,” if insisting the would never use polling to tailor his message.


Unlike when O’Rourke ran for U.S. Senate and also was subject to federal project finance laws, O’Rourke faces no contribution limits at the state level. He has long crusaded against the big money in politics, do his refusal to expropriate political activity committee money a cornerstone the his campaigns. However he evidenced he would certainly accept unlimited donations as enabled under state law, saying he did not want to “run this project with a hand bound behind ours backs.”

“Having stated that, you will certainly not check out anything favor what Greg Abbott has actually done in terms of coming really close to the line of open corruption,” O’Rourke said, pointing to the $1 million donation the Abbott obtained from Dallas pipeline mogul Kelcy Warren in the months complying with the net failure that his firm profited from.

As because that Biden, O’Rourke did not express any type of concerns once asked about the influence of the president’s unpopularity ~ above the gubernatorial contest. O’Rourke said he was grateful for things the chairman has gained done that advantage Texas, like the latest part of federal COVID-19 recovery funds and also the $1 trillion facilities bill the Biden is collection to sign into law Monday.

“I will companion with anyone, anywhere, at any time — regardless of politics party or position of strength they may hold — come make sure that us make progress here in Texas,” O’Rourke said.


Miner, the Abbott spokesperson, made clean the governor"s campaign will be putting Biden front and also center in the race.

"From Beto O’Rourke’s reckless calls come defund the police come his dangerous assistance of the Biden Administration’s pro-open border policies, which have actually resulted in hundreds of fentanyl deaths, Beto O’Rourke has demonstrated the has more in common with chairman Biden 보다 he does v Texans," Miner said.

At least two various other Democrats space running because that governor. They incorporate Michael Cooper, the president of the Beaumont NAACP that ran for lieutenant branch in 2018, and Deirdre Gilbert, an education from the Houston area.

Abbott is navigating his own spirited main as the pursues a 3rd term, dealing with at least three challengers from his right. They are former Dallas state Sen. Don Huffines, conservative commentator Chad Prather and also former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West.


O’Rourke to explode on to the statewide political step in 2018 with his star-making difficulty to Cruz. He toured all of Texas’ 254 counties and smashed fundraising records, gained national attention and ultimately perfect 3 portion points behind Cruz.

Months later, O’Rourke jumped right into the presidential contest, involvement a crowded primary for the opportunity to take on then-President Donald Trump. His project struggled to an outbreak of the ago of the fill for many of his time running.

The El Paso shooting reinvigorated O’Rourke and brought a brand-new urgency come his campaign, but it was not enough. He dropped out of the gyeongju weeks later as the was to run low on money and grappling through potentially missing the cut for an upcoming debate.

O’Rourke wasted small time reengaging in state politics. He stood up to encouragement to pivot to an overwhelming U.S. Sen. Man Cornyn and also instead formed a political activity committee, powered by People, to help Texas democracy in the 2020 election.


O’Rourke popped up in the presidential major again that March, endorsing Biden in ~ a Dallas rally on the eve of the state’s nominating contest. Biden ended up winning the Texas main as part of a sweep of the super Tuesday claims that driven him on a path to the nomination.

For the rest of the 2020 choice cycle, O’Rourke and his group concentrated mainly ~ above Democrats’ fight to record the state house majority. They come up woefully short, failing to network a solitary seat.

O’Rourke was earlier in the public spotlight in February, between the winter weather situation that left countless Texans there is no power and hundreds dead. He offered his platform to fundraise because that relief efforts and also traveled the state volunteering for the recovery.

Over the summer, O’Rourke ended up being a leading number in Texas Democrats’ push for commonwealth voting rights legislation. While democrats in the Texas House broke quorum end Abbott’s priority poll bill and also went to Washington, D.C., to lobby Congress for help, O’Rourke crisscrossed Texas to build public press for commonwealth legislation.


However, Democrats to be not effective on one of two people the state or commonwealth levels. The state home Democrats ultimately returned to Austin to allow Republicans to pass their restrictive elections legislation, while conference still has actually not sent a voting civil liberties bill to Biden’s desk.

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