Beto O’Rourke, a former U.S. Representative, has apparently decided to challenge Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott in upcoming state gubernatorial race in 2022.
O’Rourke is anticipated to announce his gubernatorial bid for 2022 later on in the year, according to Axios, which cited various political operatives across the state of Texas.
A previous three-term Congressman from El Paso, Texas, O’Rourke lost his bid for the U.S. Senate against Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) in 2018. O’Rourke lost to Cruz in spite of raising $80M, a record-breaking amount that gained national attention. In addition, O’Rourke made little headway in his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, dropping out of the race relatively shortly into his efforts.
However, O’Rourke apparently perceives the current time as an optimal time to resume his political career, especially as the nation remains fiercely divided over COVID-19, immigration, and abortion. Such hot-button issues provide an opportunity for O’Rourke, per the Democrats.
“We hope he’s going to run,” Gilberto Hinojosa proclaimed to Axios.
Hinojosa, who serves as the state chair of the Democratic Party, also added that O’Rourke is likely the Democrats’ “strongest candidate,” who is more likely to “beat Abbott” due to the current governor’s perceived vulnerabilities.
For instance, Abbott’s staunch opposition to vaccine and mask mandates have presumably “not gone over well with Texans,” according to Hinojosa.
Hinojosa also added, “and with the abortion law, [the GOP has] raised the anger level of Texas women higher than anyone has ever seen before.”
However, David Wyson, who serves as O’Rourke’s long-term adviser, disagrees with the reports surfacing from Axios. Wyson, who was O’Rourke’s former House Chief of Staff, has made an effort to kill current rumors, arguing that “no decision has been made” regarding a potential gubernatorial run.
Nonetheless, since O’Rourke has been calling various political allies to seek advice, Axios has been left “with the impression that [O’Rourke has] made his decision to run.”
Poll results recently released from the Dallas Morning News show reveal that O’Rourke has reduced Abbott’s lead from 12 percentage points in a hypothetical matchup. Another potential governor, Matthew McConaughey, also surpassed Abbott by 9 percentage points.