Oct 26, 2021 - Politics
Gov. Greg Abbott launches Beto O'Rourke attack ads
Axios' Beto countdown clock
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 before the holidays — possibly with a first reveal to an El Paso news outlet.

With all the attention on a potential showdown, Axios is introducing a countdown clock to Beto's entry into the race (See above).

Flashback: A week-and-a-half ago, Abbott trotted out the "Wrong Way O'Rourke" barb in an 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."
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