Former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke announced that he is officially running for governor in 2022. Houstonia previously reported that the El Paso native and activist was rumored to enter the gubernatorial race to unseat Governor Gregg Abbott, and was "calling political allies to solicit their advice." The announcement marks O'Rourke's third political campaign in four years, following his 2020 presidential run and a senate crusade against Republican Ted Cruz.
O'Rourke tweeted a video announcement Monday. "Together, we can push past the small and divisive politics that we see in Texas today -- and get back to the big, bold vision that used to define Texas. A Texas big enough for all of us."
I’m running for governor.— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) November 15, 2021
Together, we can push past the small and divisive politics that we see in Texas today — and get back to the big, bold vision that used to define Texas. A Texas big enough for all of us.
Join us: https://t.co/eMY5wwf6an pic.twitter.com/yrG1WOkpqk
An Axios report from September mentioned that the El Paso native was the strongest candidate to challenge Abbott. His near-miss against Cruz and subsequent presidential run enamored Democrats, pushing him to run against Abbott.
In the two-minute announcement, O'Rourke mentioned the Coronavirus pandemic and the Texas winter freeze to criticize Abbott's leadership, saying that those left without power were "abandoned by those that were elected to serve and look out for them." He condemned the Republicans for recent legislation passed such as the restrictive abortion law and rigid voting regulations.
"Our governor has checked out of the fight. He's surrendered to the virus. He's going to allow it to run rampant in this state," O'Rourke said in the video. "We are now on our own. But we are not on our own alone -- we are on our own together. And that might be some cold comfort, but let's take what we've got right now, and let's work together."
While the gubernatorial campaign marks a win for the Democrats, they still face an uphill battle in the upcoming race. Texas Tribune reported that O'Rourke's race is starting 229 days later than his defunct 2017 U.S. Senate campaign, and polls are showing that Texans have a more negative view of the politician than a positive one. A University of Texas at Austin poll released in October showed that Abbott had a comfortable lead against O'Rourke, finding Abbott with a 9-percentage-point advantage over O’Rourke, 46% to 37%.
O'Rourke is set to take on the campaign trail in Houston this Friday, where he will visit a home of a victim of February’s winter storm, and his inaugural campaign kickoff event.