Former Texas Congressman and failed presidential candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke is reportedly preparing to run for governor in the Lone Star State in 2022, according to Axios and other news agencies.
Axios based its report on tips from unidentified “Texas political operatives.”
As noted by Fox News, “O’Rourke, a former three-term congressman from El Paso, lost his U.S. Senate bid against Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in 2018 despite raising a record-breaking $80 million in the race that gained national attention. He later failed in his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.”
O’Rourke’s presidential campaign tanked soon after he candidly declared during a Democratic presidential debate in Houston, “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” in response to a question about mass shootings and gun control.
Last year, When Joe Biden was on the campaign trail in Texas, he greeted O’Rourke to the stage, promising the anti-gun Texan that he would become Biden’s point man on gun control. So far, that hasn’t happened, but Biden is still early in his term, and his primary nominee to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives—David Chipman—was just withdrawn.
As noted by Axios, “O’Rourke’s entry would give Democrats a high-profile candidate with a national fundraising network to challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott” thus setting a possible path for a restart of O’Rourke’s political aspirations.
Yahoo News observed, “A race between O’Rourke, a popular Democrat, and an increasingly hard-right governor would make the election one of the most-watched contests of the 2022 election cycle.”
According to a Dallas Morning News poll, actor Matthew McConaughey has gained on Gov. Abbott, “in a hypothetical match-up.” The poll, which surveyed 1,148 registered voters Sept. 7-14, puts McConaughey 9 points ahead of Abbott, if the election were held now.
The same poll put O’Rourke 5 points behind the governor, though he has gained some ground.
Abbott has been strongly pro-Second Amendment, and signed legislation for permitless carry in Texas, which took effect Sept. 1.
But a group calling itself “Train Democrats” has launched a petition drive to “give Beto the final push he needs to run for Governor of Texas.” They want signatures from Democrats in every state, along with a donation.
Axios broke the story, and added that “No decision has been made,” quoting David Wysong, O’Rourke’s
longtime adviser” and former House chief of staff.
The Dallas Morning News poll found 54 percent of Texans surveyed say the state “is on the wrong track.” Forty-five percent approved of Gov. Abbott’s job performance, the newspaper said.