WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke is reportedly planning to run for governor against Republican Greg Abbott in 2022.
- Abbott is running for a third term but may be in a vulnerable spot given his recent performance.
- Abbott may also be up against Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey, who polled nine points ahead of him in a hypothetical match-up.
Beto O’Rourke, former Democratic congressman for Texas, is reportedly planning a gubernatorial run against Republican Governor Greg Abbott in 2022.
The Axios report cited unnamed “Texas political operatives” who said that O’Rourke would announce his campaign later this year.
According to longtime adviser David Wysong, O’Rourke had been “making and receiving calls with people all over the state” but “no decision has been made” just yet.
“We hope [O’Rourke is] going to run,” said Gilberto Hinojosa, chair of the state Democratic party. “We think he’ll be our strongest candidate. We think he can beat Abbott.”
O’Rourke, 48, represented the El Paso district for three terms in the US House. He resigned to run for Senate in 2018 but lost narrowly to Ted Cruz. He then ran for the Democratic presidential nomination but eventually dropped out before voting began.
O’Rourke continued to play a prominent role this summer in efforts to stop Texas Republicans from restricting voting access.
The state was won by Republican senator John Cornyn in 2016 and former President Donald Trump in 2020, but recent demographics in the state have shifted and given hope to Democrats.
O’Rourke told the Guardian back in July that he doesn’t know if Texas should be classified as “red,” “conservative,” or anti-abortion, since he thinks that those preconceptions reflect the stance of “a minority.” He remarked that “the majority aren’t reflected because they aren’t voting.”
Abbott will be running for a third term but his recent performance may put him in a vulnerable spot. He presided over a deadly failure of the state energy grid during the February cold snap, opposed measures meant to combat Covid-19, implemented the most severe abortion law in the country, and signed new voting restrictions.
Abbott’s “prohibition against mask and vaccination mandates have not gone over well with Texans,” Hinojosa told Axios. “And with the abortion law, Republicans have raised the anger level of Texas women higher than anyone has ever seen before.”
Abbott may also be up against Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey, though some Democrats are wary that the actor could divide the anti-Abbott vote.
A poll released by the Dallas Morning News on Sunday revealed that support for Abbott is “plunging, potentially leaving him vulnerable to the likes of McConaughey and O’Rourke”.
The poll stated that only 45% of respondents approved of Abbott while 54% thought Texas was “on the wrong track” under the governor.
A hypothetical match-up showed O’Rourke polling five points behind Abbott and McConaughey polling nine points ahead.
Source: The Guardian