Beto O'Rourke launches bid for Texas governor


Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) announced Monday that he intends to run for governor of the Lone Star State.

O’Rourke, who also ran for Senate in 2018 and president last year, made the announcement in a fundraising email to supporters, where he touted himself as a unity candidate and railed against “fringe policies and incompetence that we see in Texas today.”

“I am running for governor to serve ALL of the people of Texas,” he said. “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.”

In a subsequent video posted on Twitter previewing his run, O’Rourke cast his decision to challenge Abbott as a result of the state government’s bungling of a winter storm earlier this year, during which hundreds of Texans died and millions more were without power due to unusually frigid temperatures.

“This past February when the electricity grid failed and millions of fellow Texans were without power, which meant that the lights wouldn’t turn on, the heat wouldn’t run, and pretty soon their pipes froze and the water stopped flowing, they were abandoned by those who are elected to serve and look out for them,” he said. “It’s a symptom of a much larger problem in Texas right now, those in positions of public trust have stopped listening to, serving and paying attention to and trusting the people of Texas.”

In the video, O’Rourke indicated he would tackle a slate of issues, including strengthening the electricity grid and expanding Medicaid.

“Instead, they’re focusing on the kind of extremist policies around abortion or permitless carry or even in our schools that really only divide us and keep us apart and stop us from working together on the truly big things that we want to achieve for one another. It’s a really small vision for such a small state, but it doesn’t have to be that way.”

O’Rourke’s entry into the race marks a win for Texas Democrats, who had privately fretted that they’d be without a top-tier challenger to Abbott if O’Rourke didn’t throw his hat into the ring.

O’Rourke, a former three-term congressman, first saw his star rise in 2018, when he launched a challenge to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that ignited the grassroots in Texas and across the country. He fell short by under 3 points, a margin that suggested Texas could be within reach for Democrats.

However, he saw far less success in his 2020 presidential bid, dropping out in November of 2019 before any primaries were held. During that campaign, he adopted a slew of progressive policies, including on mandatory gun buybacks, saying at a debate that “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” a quote that will surely haunt him in a state with a prominent gun culture like Texas.

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