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

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Monday described Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeTrump slams 'very dumb' O'Rourke for proposals on guns, tax exempt status for churches Hillicon Valley: FCC approves T-Mobile-Sprint merger | Dems wrangle over breaking up Big Tech at debate | Critics pounce as Facebook's Libra stumbles | Zuckerberg to be interviewed by Fox News | Twitter details rules for political figures' tweets O'Rourke rips Bill O'Reilly: The problem with our economy is 'a disgraced TV host like you makes millions' MORE (D-Texas) as "cult-like" in the way that he's garnered attention in his bid to unseat Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump slams 'very dumb' O'Rourke for proposals on guns, tax exempt status for churches Trump confirms Rick Perry to step down as Energy secretary Overnight Energy: Perry to step down as Energy secretary | Future of big-game hunting council up in the air | Dems lose vote against EPA power plant rule 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.

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"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.