Former El Paso Congressman, presidential hopeful, and Texas Democratic lightning rod Beto O’Rourke said he is considering running for Governor in 2022.
O’Rourke said Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s responses to COVID-19 is a factor in his consideration.
“This state has suffered perhaps more than any other in the midst of this pandemic, in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression. It is particularly galling to me … that El Paso has in one of the hardest-hit states was, if not is, the hardest-hit city,” O’Rourke said. “So many people dying so quickly that you set up 10 mobile morgues. You have to call in the National Guard to haul the dead bodies, and you have a complete indifference on the part of Gov. Greg Abbott to what local leadership, including our county judge, Judge [Ricardo A.] Samaniego, are trying to do to literally save the lives of the people in our lives.”
So far all quiet from Team Abbott on these ridiculous assertations. But Texas Sen. Dawn Buckingham took to Twitter with the news, encouraging O’Rourke to burn out once again in a high-stakes run.
— Dawn Buckingham (@DrBuckinghamTX) January 28, 2021
O’Rourke came to prominence when he ran against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018 — after fizzled hopes that Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Andrew White (who lost to Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez in the primary) would head the blue ticket that year and break the decades-old trend of Republican executive power. O’Rourke’s star power in 2018 fueled an unsuccessful but well-followed presidential run during the 2020 Democratic Primary.
Buckingham, in her tweet, refers to a debate comment in which O’Rourke expressed he would strictly regulate firearms such as the AR-15.
From the hip: We agree with Sen. Buckingham that a gubernatorial run from O’Rourke would be an excellent use of Democratic donor resources.
In all fairness, O’Rourke is a responsive politician and would do much to unify Democratic hopes in the Lone Star State in the same way he did in 2018. Of course, he also had an effect of galvanizing Republicans against the so-called “Beto wave,” as black-and-white “Beto for Senate” signs and bumper stickers became a uniform of sorts for Texas Democrats. Support for Beto may as well have been code for the TDP that year, as not even their AG candidate Justin Nelson received that level of attention (nothing remotely close to it, actually — even with Ken Paxton still under the legal microscope).
Republicans could benefit from a high-profile race on the Democratic ticket in 2022 — assuming a resource-draining Republican primary wouldn’t tilt the board Beto’s way. But with Abbott’s $38 million war chest, we don’t predict Abbott would have much trouble running for another term, especially if O’Rourke faces a challenge from another Democratic rising star such as Julian Castro. Bring it on.