AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Democrat Beto O’Rourke is running for governor of Texas, pursuing a blue breakthrough in America’s biggest red state after his star-making U.S. Senate campaign in 2018 put him closer than anyone else in decades.
O’Rourke’s announcement Monday kicks off a third run for office in as many election cycles. He burst into the 2020 Democratic presidential primary as a party phenomenon but dropped out just eight months later as money and fanfare dried up.
O’Rourke, 49, will have to win over not only hundreds of thousands of new voters but some of his old ones. When O’Rourke lost to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz by just 2.5 percentage points, Abbott won reelection by double digits that same year, reflecting a large number of Texans who voted for O’Rourke and for the GOP governor.
That crossover appeal was a hallmark of a Senate campaign propelled by energetic rallies, ideological blurriness and unscripted livestreams on social media. But as a presidential candidate, O’Rourke molded himself into a liberal champion who called for slashing immigration enforcement and mandatory gun buybacks.
That last paragraph is an interesting lens into the reporter’s bias. While they tout Beto’s crossover appeal in attracting Abbot voters, the reverse is equally true. Abbot won a lot of voters who voted for Beto in a Democratic wave year.