Beto O’Rourke Launches Bid For Texas Governor
AUSTIN, TX - JUNE 20: Former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) speaks at a rally at the state Capitol on June 20, 2021 in Austin, Texas. The rally is one of many O'Rourke is holding across Texas to fight SB7, a controversial voting bill that was derailed after house Democrats walked out of the session. The bill set limits on early voting hours, banned drive-through voting, made it a felony for officials to send unsolicited absentee ballot requests and lowered the standard for overturning an election based on fraud. Gov. Greg Abbott has vowed to call a special session on the measure.
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Former Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke officially launched a run for Texas governor on Monday, announcing that he intends to “serve ALL of the people of Texas.”

“I am running for governor to serve ALL of the people of Texas,” he said in his announcement, according to The Hill. “I believe that the only way we are going to achieve great things for this state is by looking out for each other and moving forward together.”

O’Rourke will likely be running against incumbent Republican Governor Greg Abbott. He said that he wanted to combat the “fringe policies and incompetence that we see in Texas today.”

He told Texas Monthly that he was upset about some of Abbott’s education policies, which have included the prohibition of males from women’s sports at the K-12 level and a bill relating to critical race theory in the classroom. 

“I want to serve this state and try to bring the people of Texas together to do some of the really big work that is before us and get past this smallness and divisiveness that Greg Abbott has brought to Texas,” O’Rourke told the outlet. “You see it in the things he wants us to focus on right now, like which girls can play which sports in middle school, or what history teachers in public schools can teach.”

O’Rourke also placed blame on Abbott for COVID-19 deaths and the Texas power grid failure last winter. 

Soon after O’Rourke’s official campaign announcement on Monday, the Republican Governors Association put out a statement warning Texas voters about policies that O’Rourke has promoted in the past including a restriction of “assault weapons” and revocation of the tax-exempt status of religious organizations who don’t support same-sex marriage. 

While on the campaign trail for president, O’Rourke declared, “ “Hell, yes, we’re gonna take your AR-15.”

“Texas voters have already rejected Beto O’Rourke for statewide office, and they’ll do so again now that they know just how radical he really is,” said RGA spokesperson Joanna Rodriguez

She continued, “Beto 2.0 vowed to confiscate the firearms of law-abiding citizens, pledged to tear down physical barriers along the border, and supported regulations that would kill over a million jobs across the state and raise taxes and the cost of living on families and small businesses. There’s no telling how far Beto 3.0 will go in his vain attempt to stay relevant after running out of promotions to chase in Washington.”

Abbott himself faces some internal political pressures with several other Republicans working to primary the governor. Reportedly, he has about $55 million of available campaign funds. 

The Associated Press reported, “ Two conservative firebrands, including former Florida congressman Allen West, have launched primary challenges. Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Abbott but also has pressured him to audit the state’s entire 2020 election results over false claims of fraud, even though he won Texas. Abbott has refused”

O’Rourke lost his senate bid to Ted Cruz in 2018 by about 2.5 percentage points.