O'Rourke won't say if he wants Biden to campaign for him in Texas senate race

Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke would not say if he wants President BidenJoe BidenGOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips Five House members meet with Taiwanese president despite Chinese objections Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist MORE to campaign for him in the Lone Star State when asked on Sunday, arguing that the race will be about Texans and not national political figures.

Asked by co-host Dana BashDana BashDemocrats optimistic as social spending bill heads to Senate O'Rourke won't say if he wants Biden to campaign for him in Texas senate race Fauci says fully vaccinated families can 'absolutely' enjoy holidays inside without masks MORE on CNN’s “State of the Union” if he would like Biden to travel to Texas and campaign with him, making note of the president’s 35 percent approval rating in the state, O’Rourke sidestepped a direct answer, instead saying that the election is going to remain focused on the Lone Star State and not national politics.

“This campaign in Texas is not gonna be about Joe Biden. It's not gonna be about Donald Trump. It's not gonna be about anyone from outside of our state. This is going to be about the people of Texas and what the people of Texas want,” said O’Rourke, who announced his candidacy for governor last week.

“And I told you they want the big things like jobs, great schools and making sure everyone can see a doctor, but they also want to see some competence in their government,” he added, pointing to the electricity grid failure earlier this year that led to millions living without power and hundreds dying.

Pressed by Bash on if his largely-evasive answer meant he would prefer that Biden not travel to Texas to campaign with him, O’Rourke said his response “means that I'm focused on Texas and on my fellow Texans.”

“Those are the people most important to me. There's no politician, there's no other person from outside of this state, who can help to change the course of this election for better or for worse,” O’Rourke said.

“That’s why I’m traveling to every part of the state, making sure that no one is written off and no one is taken for granted and that we keep the focus on Texas,” he added.

The conversation regarding Biden potentially campaigning alongside O’Rourke follows the Democratic Party's loss in the Virginia gubernatorial race earlier this month, after Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffeTerry McAuliffeFive reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season BBB threatens the role of parents in raising — and educating — children Virginia's urgent lesson: Democrats' down-ballot enthusiasm gap MORE in-part tried to make the election a referendum on national politics.

Biden, Vice President Harris and other leading Democratic figures campaigned alongside McAuliffe in the Old Dominion, and the candidate frequently used former President TrumpDonald TrumpStowaway found in landing gear of plane after flight from Guatemala to Miami Kushner looking to Middle East for investors in new firm: report GOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips MORE’s name to drum up support within his party.

That strategy, however, is now under scrutiny after McAuliffe lost to GOP nominee Glenn YoungkinGlenn YoungkinFive reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season Parnell exit threatens to hurt Trump's political clout Virginia's urgent lesson: Democrats' down-ballot enthusiasm gap MORE, and as Biden’s approval rating continue to slump nationwide.