A candidate who believes Texas would be a better place with a lot fewer guns and a lot more illegal immigrants is running for governor.
Former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, whose high-profile effort to secure the Democratic nomination for president fired blanks and who lost a 2018 campaign for the U.S. Senate against Republican Ted Cruz, announced Monday that he will challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in the 2022 election.
O’Rourke issued a video announcement on Twitter.
“Together, we can push past the small and divisive politics that we see in Texas today — and get back to the big, bold vision that used to define Texas,” he tweeted.
I’m running for governor.
Together, we can push past the small and divisive politics that we see in Texas today — and get back to the big, bold vision that used to define Texas. A Texas big enough for all of us.
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) November 15, 2021
Republicans were dismissive.
“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,” Republican Governors Association spokesperson Joanna Rodriguez said in a statement, according to Fox News.
“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.”
Texans For Greg Abbott Communications Director Mark Miner also disparaged O’Rourke in a statement posted on Abbott’s campaign website.
“From Beto O’Rourke’s reckless calls to defund the police to his dangerous support of the Biden Administration’s pro-open border policies, which have resulted in thousands of fentanyl deaths, Beto O’Rourke has demonstrated he has more in common with President Biden than he does with Texans,” he said.
“The last thing Texans need is President Biden’s radical liberal agenda coming to Texas under the guise of Beto O’Rourke. The contrast for the direction of Texas couldn’t be clearer.”
For Beto O’Rourke to win, Texans have to vote for him. For that to happen in a red state, he’ll have to move toward the center. His “I’m coming for your guns” will not work in Texas.
— Sachi Grace 🇺🇸 ⚜️ 💜 🚴♀️ (@sachigracen) October 11, 2021
O’Rourke’s immigration plan during his presidential campaign called for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the United States, and said only illegal immigrants with criminal backgrounds should be detained when they cross the border, according to The New York Times.
“Republicans didn’t need a lot of reason to turn out and have intensity, but this is going to juice it,” said Matt Mackowiak, chairman of the Republican Party in Travis County. “It’s going to be kryptonite for Democrats in suburban areas, and it’s going to be rocket fuel for Republicans in rural areas.”
Abbott is currently facing possible Republican primary challenges from former state Sen. Don Huffines and former Texas GOP chairman Allen West.
Although Democrats have been tantalized by the idea of turning Texas blue, former President Donald Trump won the state by six percentage points in 2020 and the GOP maintained control of the state House of Representatives. Earlier this month, Democrats were also handed what has been widely interpreted as a rebuke from voters in Virginia and New Jersey.
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