Democrat Beto O’Rourke has officially launchedHis campaign for Texas governor, challenging Gov. Greg Abbott at a time when the extremist governor has been leading an extreme right-wing charge in Texas to suppress marginalized groups and reduce rights.
O’Rourke is a Leading Democratic candidateIn the race to be the state that is undergoing quick population growthMany of the new residents are non-white. He served as a representative for El Paso in Congress for six years and in 2018 lost his bid to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, an election that nonetheless launched O’Rourke into national prominence.
If he were elected, he would be the first Democrat to hold the governor’s office since 1995This was nearly 30 years ago. This would end a nineteen year streak in which Republicans controlled the state legislature and governorship. It could also bring Texas into the long-declared blue state status.
O’Rourke criticized Abbott in a video announcing his campaign on Monday, saying that Texans were “abandoned by those who were elected to serve and look out for them” during winter storm Uri earlier this year and other crises. He highlighted priorities like expanding Medicaid and marijuana legalization, and panned Abbott for “extremist” policies that he’s put in place.
The challenge comes as Abbott’s approval ratings have plummeted to Record lowsDuring a particularly difficult year in Texas. The right-wing firebrand ruled a devastating energy crisisFebruary pushing climate denialIt was the climate crisis that was being reported in the media It is largely due toThe winter storm has just begun.
Later in the year, governor led the charge to implement some of these measures. harshest voter suppression laws in the country as a backlash to Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 election — laws that voting rights advocates sayThis would have adisproportionate impact on poor and non-white communities. He pushed for anti-trans legislation, culminating in a bill he signed late last month that bars transgender students from playing on sports teams that match their gender identity and potentially endanger trans students’ lives with ensuing mental health impacts.
Perhaps most infamously, Abbott signed the nation’s most restrictive abortion ban into law that went into effect in September, banning most abortions in the state and Effectively overturningRights afforded by Roe v. Wade. It allows vigilantesAnyone who assists a person to obtain an abortion can be sued, which has a chilling effect on providers of abortion. This law has been met with backlash fierce, and Abbott’s supposed reasons for supporting the law have been fragileat best, and potentially dangerous at worst.
O’Rourke, though not an extremist far-right figure, has baggage of his own, however — moreso thanWhen he ran in 2018 for Senate, as the Texas TribuneThese are just a few of the points. Only 35% of respondents responded. a recent survey said that they view O’Rourke favorably, while half of respondents said that they had an unfavorable opinion of him.
That poll, from October, showed O’Rourke trailing Abbott in a hypothetical matchup by 9 points. A more recent poll showed more optimistic results for the Democrat, showing O’Rourke Only 1 percentage point behind, which is considered a tie because it’s within the poll’s margin of error.
O’Rourke’s record as a public figure is checkered at best. As Susie Aquilina wrote for Truthout in 2019, among El Paso activists, “he is best remembered for his support to transform downtown by driving out low-income residents and demolishing immigrant neighborhoods.” As a city councillor, O’Rourke allied with wealthy developers in gentrifying Mexican neighborhoods in the city.
The Democratic establishment has also been a favorite been criticizedHe stood for very little during his 2020 presidential election campaign, aside from platitudes and flowery rhetoric. He often spoke from atop a counter or table and offered no concrete policy suggestions to back up his speeches. Democrats say this time around, O’Rourke should focus his campaignOn positioning himself against Abbott.