Five months after announcing his plans to run for Senate in Texas, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) made his first major foray into campaigning for a potential run for governor on Wednesday.
At a San Antonio event, O’Rourke — currently the highest-profile Democrat in the crowded primary field — told a crowd of 800 people that while he has not yet decided if he will take on incumbent GOP Gov. Greg Abbott, he is determined to run a positive campaign.
“I don’t know what the future holds,” O’Rourke said. “What I do know is that I have decided that my first focus will be on running a campaign that is truly focused on encouraging a positive conversation about these issues and holding Greg Abbott accountable.”
O’Rourke made it clear, however, that there is no interest in talking about former Vice President Joe Biden, who is also seeking the governor’s mansion but recently suggested that a bid for the White House was “far away” for him.
“I’m running,” O’Rourke said at the event. “I know that I have a better chance of winning a general election in 2018, Texas-style, and that’s why I’m in. We are not going to be talking about Joe Biden. We are not going to be talking about him, just like we’re not going to be talking about all of the dark forces in the Republican Party, the ethics issues that he’s involved in.”
O’Rourke went on to slam President Donald Trump and the “politics of division,” comparing the ways they have enacted legislation.
“We have a president who is leading this nation in a way that is divisive, dividing this nation, this city, this state, and it’s leading this nation toward a moment when the country is not the kind of country that I want to be a part of,” O’Rourke said. “We should be better than that, Texas better than that.”
Abbott, who has been in office since 2015, is widely considered a favorite to win re-election. His campaign has so far remained above the fray of the growing field of Democrats, focusing largely on a record of job creation and budget cuts. The campaign, in the last quarter, raised nearly $15 million, a record for a Texas governor’s race.
When the Texas legislature is set to reconvene at the end of the month, they will consider five measures related to gun rights that O’Rourke is a staunch defender of, including a bill that would grant gun owners in Texas with mental illnesses the right to carry a firearm with a license.
Read the full story at the New York Times.
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