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Beto O’Rourke, who not only lost a U.S. Senate race against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) but also failed in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, said earlier this week he is considering a run for Texas governor.
Speaking to El Paso radio station KLAQ, O’Rourke said that running for Texas governor was “something I’m going to think about.” The next day, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) was asked about a potential challenge from O’Rourke, the Texas Tribune reported.
“You’re talking about a person who says they want to run for governor who said, ‘Heck yes,’ he’s gonna come and take your guns,” Abbott said, referring to comments O’Rourke made while running in the Democratic primary. “Heck yes, he’s for open borders. Heck yes, he’s for killing the energy sector and fossil fuels in the state of Texas. I don’t think that’s gonna sell real well.”
O’Rourke responded on Twitter by claiming Abbott was personally responsible for the 36,000 Texas who died from COVID-19.
“Whether or not I run, I will do everything in my power to elect a Governor who looks out for everyone, keeps Texans safe, answers to the people instead of the special interests & guarantees that we all have equal opportunity to achieve our best in life,” O’Rourke concluded.
Abbott was first elected governor in 2014, defeating Democrat Wendy Davis, who was urged to run after she became a progressive hero for filibustering an anti-abortion bill in the Texas state House or Representatives. Abbott defeated Davis by nearly 19 percentage points despite all the glowing coverage she received from the mainstream media. Davis not only lost the election, but she finished the race with a net negative favorability rating and also turned Texas redder.
Abbott won re-election in 2018 against Democrat Lupe Valdez. In that race, Abbott secured 56% of the vote, including 42% of the Hispanic vote and 16% of the black vote.
In contrast to Abbott’s history of electoral success, O’Rourke hasn’t won an election since he left the U.S. House of Representatives to run for the Senate. O’Rourke lost to Cruz by 3 percentage points, the closest a Democrat has come to defeating a Republican in The Lone Star State in recent memory, but that was helped by millions of dollars pouring into the state and a sustained effort from the mainstream media to give him endlessly positive coverage. Even though he failed to win his election, O’Rourke decided to run for the Democratic presidential nominee. He again received fawning media coverage, including the front cover story for Vanity Fair after he announced his run. O’Rourke ended up dropping out of the primary months before the Iowa caucus as his campaign flailed from the start.
Now O’Rourke apparently thinks he can take on Abbott when he is up for re-election in 2022. If the election were held today, O’Rourke might have a chance. Abbott has a 47% approval rating (81% among Republicans), but a 39% disapproval rating among Independents. The downward approval rating trend, however, appears to be a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which should be substantially alleviated by 2022 now that a vaccine is being administered.
O’Rourke has issues of his own, beyond his inability to win a major election. Just last week, a Texas candidate backed by O’Rourke lost by 16 percentage points in a state House race, The Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra reported.