Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, will run for a third term in 2022 — and in response, the Democratic Party is digging up the old bones of a failed 2018 candidate.
The governor has earned the ire of Democrats for signing the Texas Heartbeat Act and enforcing election integrity. Some Democrats have, imfamously, compared his administration to the Taliban.
Naturally, the Democrats are cooking up a plan to unseat him. Namely, they’re considering former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke for another run.
Two state political operatives told Axios that O’Rourke is preparing a gubernatorial run.
“We hope that he’s going to run,” state Democratic chairman Gilberto Hinojosa told Axios. “We think he’ll be our strongest candidate. We think he can beat Abbott, because he’s vulnerable.”
O’Rourke has become best known for challenging — and losing to — Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. O’Rourke raised $70 million during his run to unseat Cruz, with more than $40 million coming from outside Texas.
It was, at the time, the most expensive Senate race in U.S. history.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) October 26, 2018
Opinion: Texas law rewarding abortion tattlers resembles Taliban more than America https://t.co/S4XMnTcw2y
— Houston Chronicle (@HoustonChron) July 26, 2021
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Before 2018, O’Rourke built a reputation for unseating incumbents. In 2005, O’Rourke unseated City Councilmember Anthony Cobos, who was ultimately investigated by the FBI conspiracy to commit mail fraud, deprivation of honest services, and other corruption charges.
In 2012, he unseated U.S. Rep. Silver Reyes, a favorite of former State Secretary Hillary Clinton.
However, O’Rourke has unseated only other Democrats, never Republicans. He lost to Cruz in 2018, and he lost the Democratic nomination to challenge former President Donald Trump.
However, O’Rourke’s fans still see him as a worthy contender against Abbott.
“We think he’ll be our strongest candidate,” the state Democratic chairman told Axios. “We think he can beat Abbott, because he’s vulnerable.”
Indeed, Abbott has fallen in popularity, a new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll reported.
The poll comes from June 2021, when Abbott was facing bipartisan criticism for his hands-off approach to virus precautions.
However, earlier in the year, Abbott was widely recognized for his steady leadership during a winter storm, and he has always polled more than four points ahead of O’Rourke.
Axios interviewed David Wysong, O’Rourke’s former House chief of staff. Wysong told Axios, “No decision has been made.”
However, he also said that O’Rourke has begun calling his political cronies.
The Horn editorial team