A Democrat who believes Texas would be a better place with a lot fewer guns and a lot more illegal immigrants will enter the race for governor later this year, according to reports.
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, who failed in a high-profile effort to secure the Democratic nomination for president and who lost a 2018 race for the U.S. Senate against Republican Ted Cruz, is ready to challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in 2022, Axios reported.
“No decision has been made,” said David Wysong, O’Rourke’s former chief of staff in Congress. “He has been making and receiving calls with people from all over the state.”
An O’Rourke candidacy is supported by Gilberto Hinojosa, the Democratic Party’s state chair.
“We hope that he’s going to run,” he said. “We think he’ll be our strongest candidate. We think he can beat Abbott, because he’s vulnerable.
“His prohibition against mask and vaccination mandates have not gone over well with Texans,” Hinojosa added. “And with the abortion law, Republicans have raised the anger level of Texas women higher than anyone has ever seen before.”
Abbott has been front and center in a number of controversies this year, including the battle against mask and vaccination mandates.
Texas was also at the epicenter of the national debate over election integrity when Democrats stalled a law they claimed made it harder for some people to vote.
A recent poll showed that in August, Abbott’s approval rating was at 41 percent, 15 points below its most recent peak in April 2020. Another poll by the Dallas Morning News showed Abbott leading O’Rourke by only five percentage points.
In 2019, O’Rourke called for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the U.S. and said that only illegal aliens with a criminal background should be detained at the border, according to The New York Times.
Illegal immigration is currently a crisis in Texas, with thousands of Haitians living in squalor in a massive camp in the border town of Del Rio.
O’Rourke also proposed a gun confiscation plan when he was running for president.
In May, Webb County Democratic Party Chairwoman Sylvia Bruni said that proposal could come back to bite him, Newsweek reported.
Bruni said that in her part of Texas, “your guns are more important than your wife.”
The Republican Governors Association is already slamming O’Rourke.
“The version of Beto O’Rourke that would run for governor today is a very different and drastically more radical candidate than the last one Texans saw on their ballots,” RGA spokeswoman Joanna Rodriguez said in a statement, according to KXAN-TV.
“An O’Rourke gubernatorial campaign will be nothing more than a money grab and vain attempt to stay relevant after running out of promotions to chase in Washington.”
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