Former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeO'Rourke seizes on Texas power grid in bid against Abbott McConaughey on Texas run: 'I will let you know shortly' O'Rourke raises M in first 24 hours of Texas governor campaign MORE (D-Texas) says he's not surprised by polls showing that Matthew McConaughey would beat Texas Gov. Greg AbbottGreg AbbottMcConaughey says he won't seek political office 'at this moment' Democratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills One-quarter in Texas unwilling, unlikely to get vaccinated: poll MORE (R) in a hypothetical 2022 match-up because the actor has remained politically ambiguous while flirting with his possible gubernatorial run.
"I don’t know, for example, who he voted for in the most consequential election since 1864 in this country," O'Rourke, himself a potential 2022 opponent against Abbott, said of the "Dallas Buyers Club" star.
"I don’t know how he feels about any of the issues that we’ve brought up," O'Rourke said. "So I think that might explain part of it."
A poll conducted earlier this month by The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler found that 37 percent of respondents said they would vote for O'Rourke in next year's election if he were to run — putting him just 5 percentage points behind Abbott.
But McConaughey landed 9 percentage points ahead of Abbott, with 44 percent of those surveyed saying they would cast a ballot for the entertainer.
McConaughey has publicly been weighing a turn to politics in recent months, calling a bid for the Texas governor's office a "true consideration."
"I'm more of a folksy and philosopher poet statesman than I am a, per se, definitive politician," McConaughey said in an interview last week, while acknowledging he was "measuring" a political run.
O'Rourke, who lost a 2018 bid to unseat Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGermany calls on Congress not to sanction Nord Stream 2 pipeline: report Fauci says lies, threats are 'noise' Biden administration resists tougher Russia sanctions in Congress MORE (R-Texas), counted himself among McConaughey's admirers, calling the performer a "great actor" and a "good guy who's done some good work in this state."
"I don’t know anything about his potential run other than what I’ve read," he told Swisher.
O'Rourke noted that McConaughey was on hand in 2019 following a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso and during a deadly winter storm in the Lone Star State earlier this year.
"I’m a fan of his," O'Rourke said, "and I’ve been so impressed by how he’s used his celebrity and star power to help others."