Texas governor calls Beto O'Rourke 'cult-like' figure

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Monday described Rep. Beto O'RourkeRobert (Beto) Francis O'RourkeDem pollster says it's 'misstated wisdom' to assume competitive primaries damage presidential nominees Group launches campaign to 'Draft Beto' for 2020 White House bid Kamala Harris top 2020 choice in poll of women of color MORE (D-Texas) as "cult-like" in the way that he's garnered attention in his bid to unseat Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGroup launches campaign to 'Draft Beto' for 2020 White House bid Look out ‘losers’ — Trump focused on ‘winning’ The Memo: GOP frets as Trump shutdown looms MORE (R-Texas).

"He’s been a cult-like, very popular figure the way that he’s run the campaign, but you don’t vote on cult, you don’t vote on personality when you get to the U.S. Senate. You vote on the issues," Abbott said on "Fox & Friends."

Abbott was critical of O'Rourke's liberal policy views, saying Texas voters won't approve of "George Soros policies" such as higher taxes.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Texans are hostile to any candidate who’s talking about raising their taxes," he said. "Texans are hostile to anybody talking about big government programs run their lives."

Abbott likened this year's U.S. Senate race in Texas to his own campaign four years ago against Democrat Wendy Davis, who he noted also gained national attention before losing by roughly 20 percentage points in the general election.

O'Rourke has gained significant traction as he attempts to defeat Cruz in a traditionally Republican state. The Democrat has garnered national attention for his speeches and for his fundraising hauls, while the national GOP has mobilized to support Cruz.

The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election forecaster, rates the Texas Senate race as as "toss-up."

A RealClearPolitics average of polls in the race shows Cruz with a 4.5 percentage point lead in the race.

Abbott is also up for reelection this year. An average of polls show him with a sizable lead over Democratic candidate Lupe Valdez.