Aug 15, 2022 - Politics

GOP worries Beto could win the suburbs

Beto talking to a rapt audience

Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke drew thousands of people to a rally in Frisco during the weekend, prompting worry among some Collin County Republicans.

  • "Texas is turning blue," Kyle Sims, a GOP Collin County precinct chair, told his Facebook followers after seeing the size of O'Rourke's crowd. "Collin County is turning blue."

Why it matters: If he has any hope of defeating Gov. Greg Abbott in November, O'Rourke will have to do well in the state's suburbs.

  • Collin and Denton counties could be key battlegrounds.

Driving the news: O'Rourke told reporters in Frisco that the large crowd is a signal that he can win in Collin County.

The big picture: Concerns about the stability of the state's power grid and Abbott's declaration that the Uvalde shooting "could have been worse" — combined with the fact that a majority of Texans opposed overturning Roe — have likely weakened Abbott's stronghold.

  • Yes, but: A lot of Texans blame Democrats for the recent spike in inflation.

By the numbers: Last month, a Quinnipiac poll showed Abbott had a five-point lead over O'Rourke. A new Dallas Morning News poll shows a similar margin, but 66% of voters polled also said the governor should call a special session to help curb mass shootings — which has become a cornerstone of O'Rourke's campaign.

  • Former President Trump won Collin County with 51% of the vote in 2020.

The intrigue: O'Rourke's campaign has made a point of highlighting Republican-leaning voters who say they're planning to vote for him this year.

The bottom line: Oddsmakers still think Abbott is a heavy favorite, but it'll be closer than it looked like it would be even a few months ago.


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