Nov 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Beto O’Rourke announces run for Texas governor

Beto O'Rourke speaks at the We Are the Moral Resurrection! Georgetown-to-Austin March for Democracy rally.
Photo: Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP via Getty Images

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke officially announced Monday that he is running for governor of Texas in 2022.

Why it matters: The formal announcement of his campaign puts to rest months of speculation that O’Rourke would challenge current Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in next year's elections.

  • Axios revealed in a scoop in September that O'Rouke was plotting his political comeback by running for governor next year.
  • His run gives Democrats a high-profile candidate with a national fundraising network to challenge Republican incumbent Abbott.

What he's saying: In a new campaign video, O'Rouke framed his decision to run around Texas' deadly winter storm in February, which he said left Texans "abandoned by those who are elected to serve."

  • “Those in positions of public trust have stopped listening to, serving and paying attention to — and trusting — the people of Texas," he added.
  • Instead of focusing on policies most Texans agree on — like expanding Medicaid and legalizing marijuana — O'Rouke said his Republican colleagues are focused on "extremist policies" such as gun rights and abortion.

In an interview with the Texas Tribune on Monday, O'Rouke said that Abbott "doesn’t trust women to make their health care decisions, doesn’t trust police chiefs when they tell him not to sign the permitless carry bill into law, he doesn’t trust voters so he changes the rules of our elections, and he doesn’t trust local communities,” regarding the creation of their own pandemic policies.

The big picture: O'Rouke was a target of Abbott attack ads that branded him "Wrong Way O'Rourke" even before he announced his bid for governor.

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