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Axios Austin

It's Tuesday, y'all.

πŸ”₯ Quick brag: We're on fire! Axios Local was just named the "Hottest Launch in Publishing" on the Adweek Hot List!

☁️ Today's weather: Mostly cloudy, high of 87, chance of showers.

Situational awareness: Tesla hit a $1 trillion market cap for the first time Monday after Hertz said it will buy 100,000 of the company's electric vehicles by the end of 2022.

  • Elon Musk said this month the company is moving its HQ from Palo Alto to Austin.

Now let's get to it.

Today's newsletter is 957 words β€” a 4-minute read.

1 big thing: Abbott attacks Beto (and he isn't even running yet)

Axios Austin has launched an official Beto O'Rourke Countdown Clock as Republicans and Democrats await an announcement on his entry into the gubernatorial race. Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Gov. Greg Abbott brands Beto O'Rourke as "Wrong Way O'Rourke" in a new campaign ad that criticizes the El Paso Democrat for his support of Black Lives Matter and efforts to defund the police.

For the record: O'Rourke hasn't actually said he's running for governor.

  • Yes but: It looks increasingly like he will. O'Rourke recently called out Abbott's "anti-science, anti-public health order" that bans businesses from mandating vaccinations.

He's also been talking with Democratic operatives about a potential run, as Axios previously reported.

  • Sources who work in Texas Democratic politics tell Axios that O'Rourke could declare for the race before the holidays β€” possibly with a first reveal to an El Paso news outlet.

⏰ With all the attention on a potential showdown, we're introducing a countdown clock to O'Rourke's entry into the race.

Flashback: A week-and-a-half ago, Abbott trotted out the "Wrong Way O'Rourke" barb in a low-budget ad that took aim at the former congressman on guns, immigration and the environment.

  • Expect Abbott to put the soundbites included in these two ads on incessant repeat between now and Election Day.

What they're saying: "Texas is not a swing state because Democrats haven't exhibited an ability to win here, but high quality, well-funded candidates can obviously give Republicans a run for their money," Joshua Blank, research director at the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas, tells Axios.

  • O'Rourke vs. Abbott, Blank said, "would be a competitive race."

πŸ’­ Asher's thought bubble: Even as Abbott has tacked yet further to the right on policy to fend off Republican primary opponents β€” on masks and vaccines, transgender kids and sports, and abortion β€”Β some of his money is going squarely at O'Rourke, whose name familiarity and cash-raising prowess might make him the biggest threat to Abbott's reelection.

Keep a close watch on the countdown

2. πŸ€” Austin ➑️ Arkansas?

ExperinceOz.us. Courtesy of OZ Brands

If you woke up this morning thinking you wanted to move to Arkansas, now's your chance.

  • Northwest Arkansas outdoor recreation and arts company Oz Brands is offering to buy 10 Austinites a one-way ticket to a little place it calls paradise.
  • California tech bros who haven't unpacked yet β€” perhaps this is the opportunity you've been looking for...

What's happening: The Bentonville-based company is accepting applications through Oct. 29 from Austin residents to win an airline ticket to Northwest Arkansas National Airport, a $350 Visa gift card and a $150 gift card from a regional restaurant group. The promotion is called "One Way Out."

  • Entries will be judged on their 250-word essays that answer: "Why do you need a break from Austin?"

Context: The gimmick, of course, is the one-way ticket because "once visitors see the hidden gem of the Northwest Arkansas region, they won't want to leave!"

  • OZ Brands (OZ Art, OZ Trails and Fly OZ) claims Austin residents must be tired of the traffic, tourists and cost of living.
  • (FWIW, we are, aren't we?)

What to watch: Winners will be announced on Nov. 5.

More on Northwest Arkansas' campaign

3. New glamping options near Austin

Photo: Jonathan Vail Photography/LCRA Parks

Want to camp without the setup, bugs, sleeping bag and general hassle?

LCRA Parks and GLAT USA are now offering seven safari-style tents and a single large cabin at Lake Bastrop North Shore Park.

  • The new safari tents include custom furnishing and wood decks with scenic lake views. Yes, that includes tables, couches, a mattress and even bunk beds in some tents.
  • The cabin sleeps six and offers a kitchenette, patio with a gas grill, private restroom and shower.

The park also has five, 25-foot Flying Cloud Airstream campers available for visitors, featuring patios with gas grills, firepits and Adirondack chairs. The airstreams sleep up to four and have heat and air conditioning, showers, restrooms, kitchens and grills.

  • Those can be reserved for $225 a night, with a two-night minimum stay.

For a less pricey option, there are eight campsites with water, plus 11 campsites for RV water and electric hook ups.

Fish from the pier, use the boat ramp or play sand volleyball, tetherball and more. Plus, walk the 4.5-mile trail that connects Lake Bastrop North Shore Park to its sister park, Lake Bastrop South Shore Park.

4. 🀠 The Roundup: Keep them dogies rollin'

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

✏️ Texas universities under federal contracts are juggling pressure from Gov. Greg Abbott with the Biden administration's vaccine mandate. (The Texas Tribune)

πŸš” Prop A's minimum staffing ratio for the Austin Police Department doesn't appear to be a "nationally recognized 'safe city standard,'" despite Save Austin Now's claims. (KUT)

🏎 Netflix's "Drive to Survive" effect was on full display this weekend at the U.S. Grand Prix, as a record sellout crowd in Austin watched Max Verstappen hold off title rival Lewis Hamilton. (Axios)

πŸš‘ A man met the Round Rock nurse who saved his life with CPR after his heart stopped beating while he was grocery shopping. (American-Statesman)

5. Be on the lookout for these dinosaurs

A sculpture of a Dimetrodon reported stolen from the Dinosaur Park. Photo courtesy of Dinosaur Park

The Dinosaur Park in Cedar Creek is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the prosecution of whoever allegedly stole three dinosaur sculptures that museum officials say went missing late last week.

  • The sculptures depicted a Dimetrodon, a Dilong and a Minmi.
A sculpture of a Minmi reportedly stolen from the Dinosaur Park. Photo courtesy of Dinosaur Park
A sculpture of a Dilong reportedly stolen from the Dinosaur Park. Photo courtesy of Dinosaur Park
  • Each is between 6 and 10 feet long and 35 to 75 pounds, Linda NuΓ±ez, one of the park owners, tells Axios.
  • Because they're sculptures, they will not eat you.
6. 🦌 1 deer to go
Expand chart
Data: National Deer Association; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

Texas hunters can expect an exceptional white-tailed deer season, according to state biologists.

No, but really. There are a lot of deer out there this year.

Flashback: In 2019, Texas hunters harvested the most antlered bucks of any state in the U.S. β€” more than 400,000.

  • The statewide white-tailed deer population for 2021-2022 is estimated to be around 5.4 million.
  • The Hill Country's Edwards Plateau alone has more than 2 million.

Those on public hunting lands must have an annual hunting permit and should review state guidelines for regulations in certain areas.

😱 Asher is grabbing a drink this afternoon with the publisher of the Axios Local news operation β€” i.e., his boss' boss' boss' boss.

  • We might meet at the pretty little patio at the Hotel San JosΓ© at 5pm. Feel free to randomly drop by and say what a stellar job he's doing.

😳 Nicole is having lunch with the big boss as he makes the rounds of Axios Local operations.

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