Beto O’Rourke is considering running for Texas governor in 2022, according to a new report.
O’Rourke, who previously served as a U.S. representative from Texas, is reportedly weighing a challenge to Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, according to The Associated Press.
If the Texas Democrat does launch a campaign, it would be his third consecutive election cycle as a candidate: He ran an unsuccessful effort to unseat Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) in 2018 before undertaking a failed 2020 presidential campaign.
After ending his presidential bid in 2019, O’Rourke started a political action committee to help Democrats in Texas ahead of the 2020 election. He also began teaching virtual classes at two Texas universities.
There is no timeline for O’Rourke’s decision, and he has begun to consider a potential bid only recently, according to AP. One of his top aides told the outlet that while he has not taken any formal steps to launch a campaign, the former presidential candidate has not ruled out running against Abbott.
Top Texas Democrats are waiting with bated breath for O’Rourke to clarify his political ambitions.
“Impatience is not the word for it,” Texas Democratic Party chairman Gilberto Hinojosa told AP. “But anxious is.”
Hinojosa said he spoke to the former congressman about a possible gubernatorial run.
“I told him that I thought that we needed a strong candidate for governor, and he certainly fit that mold,” Hinojosa said. “In my opinion, if anybody could beat Abbott, he could beat him.”
Democrats were dealt a stinging loss in Texas in 2020 after they believed they could flip the Texas House but ultimately did not gain a single seat. O’Rourke worked on the effort to flip the House alongside state Democrats. A postmortem commissioned by the Texas Democratic Party concluded that a lack of in-person campaigning and inadequate voter outreach amid the coronavirus pandemic contributed to their election losses.
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