O’Rourke clarifies remarks, leaves door open to gubernatorial bid
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) appeared to clarify his earlier comments made Friday when he stated he would not run for Texas governor in 2022.
Friday evening, O’Rourke maintained that he might mount a campaign.
“What I said today is what I’ve been saying for months: I’m not currently considering a run for office. I’m focused on what I’m doing now. … Nothing’s changed and nothing I said would preclude me from considering a run in the future,” O’Rourke said in a statement.
The statement appears to walk back comments O’Rourke made earlier in the day ruling out a challenge to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) next year.
“I’ve got no plans to run, and I’m very focused on the things that I’m lucky enough to do right now — organizing, registering voters and teaching,” O’Rourke told The Dallas Morning News in an interview for an upcoming episode of its “Lone Star Politics” podcast. “I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing now.”
O’Rourke rose to national prominence in 2018 when he narrowly lost a race against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) by under 3 points.
He later ran for president in 2020, adopting a slew of liberal policies that some Democrats speculate could hinder another statewide bid in the conservative Lone Star State.
Among those policies O’Rourke adopted was support for mandatory buyback of assault weapons, a policy that could rub voters the wrong way in a state with a longstanding gun culture.
Despite concerns over his statewide electability, O’Rourke would likely be a front-runner in the Democratic gubernatorial primary next year given his broad name recognition and proven fundraising prowess.
However, Abbott is no electoral slouch. The same year O’Rourke nearly ousted Cruz, the governor won his second term by over 13 points.
Democrats have long maintained a statewide victory in Texas is within reach, though they’ve repeatedly come up short in recent elections.
The party had claimed that President Biden could win Texas in November, though he lost by more than 5 points amid unexpected gains from then-President Trump in the southern part of the state.
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