Elections

Former Presidential Candidate Beto O’Rourke Declares Run For Governor

Screenshot via YouTube/Beto O'Rourke

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
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Former Democratic Senate and presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke announced on Monday that he would run for governor in Texas.

In an announcement video posted to his YouTube page, O’Rourke took aim at Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, accusing him of not “listening to, serving and paying attention to and trusting the people of Texas.” Abbott is already facing a primary challenge from former state Republican Party chairman Allen West. Actor Matthew McConaughey is also considering entering the 2022 race. (RELATED: Matthew McConaughey Holds Double-Digit Lead Over Gov. Greg Abbott In Texas Gubernatorial Poll)

O’Rourke repeatedly cited the collapse of Texas’ electrical grid during a February winter storm. During the storm, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) reported frozen wind turbines and a natural gas shortage, causing more than four million Texans to lose power. More than 200 people died as a result of the storm and subsequent power outages, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Texans “were abandoned by those who were elected to serve and look out for them,” O’Rourke claimed. Elected officials in Texas “are not focused on the things that we really want them to do, like making sure that we have a functioning electricity grid or that we’re creating the best jobs in America right here in Texas, or that we have world class schools, or that we make progress on the things that most of us actually agree on, like expanding Medicaid or legalizing marijuana,” he continued.

Instead, O’Rourke said, elected officials are implementing “extremist policies” on abortion and gun permitting.

O’Rourke is the highest-profile Democratic candidate to join the race. He previously served three terms in the House of Representatives, representing an El Paso-centered district. O’Rourke lost to incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz during the 2018 midterms by more than two percentage points, despite raising more than $70 million in campaign funds.

During the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, O’Rourke promised mandatory gun buybacks, saying, “hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.” He also threatened to take away the tax-exempt status of religious groups that oppose gay marriage.

He dropped out of the primary in November 2019.

The Republican Governors Association (RGA) blasted O’Rourke’s campaign announcement.

“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,” RGA spokeswoman Joanna Rodriguez said.