It’s been about three months since President Joe Biden’s inauguration, and though the news cycle has had a brief respite from election-related news, that hasn’t put a full-stop to speculation about 2022. And many are wondering if we’ll be seeing more headlines about Texas Democrat, Beto O’Rourke.
The El Paso native, who rose to national recognition amid a narrowly lost run for a senate seat against incumbent Ted Cruz in 2018, was also a brief contender for the presidency in 2020. And rumor mills are running that Texans may be seeing his name on the ballot again at the midterm election, this time, for governor of the Lone Star State.
O’Rourke was clear with Texas TV station KXAS saying, “I’ve got no plans to run and I am very focused on the things that I am lucky enough to do right now. Organizing, registering voters, and teaching.” However, per People, the station was quickly contacted by O’Rourke’s team to clarify the statement after the interview.
As reported by the Texas Tribune, just because O’Rourke doesn’t have current plans to run for the gubernatorial seat, doesn’t mean he won’t change his mind before the election. “What I said today is what I’ve been saying for months: I’m not currently considering a run for office,” O’Rourke told the press. “Nothing’s changed and nothing I said would preclude me from considering a run in the future.”
The Texas gubernatorial race is one to watch for 2022
The Hill notes that Texas Democrats remain hopeful for a statewide win, and O’Rourke could play a key role in that achievement if he decides to run. A longtime vocal opponent of Senator Ted Cruz, O’Rourke was especially appalled at the lack of governmental support for Texans trapped in freezing temperatures during a February storm that left millions without power, heat, and water. O’Rourke spared no vitriol for Cruz’s negligence in an interview with MSNBC addressing “the junior senator from the state of Texas, who I understand is vacationing in Cancun right now while people are literally freezing to death in the state that he was elected to represent” (via The Week).
Meanwhile, O’Rourke led a campaign of wellness checks after the storm, marshaling a huge force of volunteers to connect Texans in need to lifesaving resources (via El Paso Times). O’Rourke also spoke to MSNBC in March, calling out Attorney General Ken Paxton for bills that impeded voting access for working Texans, restricted mail in ballots, and unduly targeted Black and Latino communities for legal harassment.
As noted by The Hill, with no senatorial race in Texas this cycle, the governor’s seat holds a lot of down-ticket power. And though O’Rourke is focused on volunteer work for the moment, it’s doubtless that Democrats in many states are relieved to hear he hasn’t entirely closed the door to the possibility of a gubernatorial bid.
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