A month after he said he was considering running in the 2022 Texas gubernatorial race, Beto O’ Rourke announced Monday that he will indeed challenge incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott (R).
O’Rourke revealed his decision in an interview with Texas Monthly, noting that he intends to point out the stark differences between himself and Abbott:
“I’m running to serve the people of Texas, and I want to make sure that we have a governor that serves everyone, helps to bring this state together to do the really big things before us and get past the small, divisive politics and policies of Greg Abbott.”
The former Democratic congressman last ran for state office in 2018 when he battled Sen. Ted Cruz (R), coming up just short of beating the controversial Lone Star State senator.
This time, O’Rourke says he’ll be focusing on the issues of improving public schools, health care, and jobs in the state. And he also noted the areas where he believes Abbott has failed the people of Texas: A woman’s right to choose, voting rights, and the need to rebuild the state’s power grid, which failed in the midst of a historic ice storm in February, leaving hundreds of thousands of Texans without electricity:
“(Texans) were abandoned by those who were elected to serve and look out for them. (Gov. Abbott) has stopped listening to and trusting the people of Texas.”
O’Rourke won’t have an easy time winning in the deeply conservative state, Texas Monthly notes, and Abbott has a massive war chest that will give him a decided advantage over all challengers:
Abbott, who has raised more money than any governor in U.S. history, had $55 million in his campaign treasury as of July 15, the last time he reported the size of his war chest. While polling has found that Abbott is not as popular as he once was, O’Rourke’s numbers are worse. A University of Texas poll conducted in October found 43 percent of Texans approved of the job Abbott is doing and 48 percent disapproved, but only 35 percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of O’Rourke against 50 percent who had an unfavorable view.
Despite that, O’Rourke insists he isn’t deterred by the uphill climb he faces:
“I don’t know how much any candidate is going to have to do to convince the people of Texas that Greg Abbott has failed them as governor. By one report, seven hundred people were killed due to his mismanagement of the power grid. And in the legislative session that followed, he did nothing meaningful to prepare us for the next winter storm or the next test of our electricity grid. His bungled response to COVID has resulted in more than seventy-one thousand Texans dead so far, and counting.”
Featured Image Via NBC News