Beto O’Rourke expected to announce candidacy

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Cynthia Cano

Madelyn Eatley and Marcus Rogers visit with Beto while throwing the Buff hand sign at an event in Lubbock for expanding voting rights in the summer of 2021.

One of the faces of the Democratic voters in the vastly growing Texas, Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, is expected to run for governor against Republican Greg Abbott in the 2022 gubernatorial election.

In 2018, O’Rourke gathered national attention in the Texas senate race against Republican incumbent Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz. He lost by three points but O’Rourke was launched into the spotlight and even got him on the stage in the first round of the Democratic debate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Beto has been working to help register Texas voters to vote for increased government participation with his organization Powered by People, an organization booth has been seen on the Charles K. and Barbara Kerr Vaughan Pedestrian Mall this semester. Powered by People is a statewide organization to help register people to vote as online voter registration isn’t an option in Texas.

“We as Texans deserve better than the so-called representation we have been given by Governor Abbott… I am excited to see the change that Beto could very possibly bring to the table,” said Madelyn Eatly, President of West Texas A&M University Democrats.

Texas has been spotted more in the national spotlight as the Democratic Party has seen millions of new residents and an opportunity to flip the state out of Republican control. Gov. Abbott has been in the governor’s mansion in Austin since 2015, with comfortable races in election years. Texas gubernatorial elections are every four years in between presidential elections.

“It’s always good to have more people who are actual competitors versus somebody who’s like, ‘I don’t really have any problem because there’s no one to run against’,” said Bryce Wheaton, political science major. “I think it’s just gonna make it to where the people who are blue are going to become more divisive and the people who are red are going to be more heated about it.”

With every election being polarized by national attention, the contentions are already rising with the election a little more than a year away. People on both sides of the aisle are gearing up for a long campaign cycle sure to be filled with vocal personal opinions. Competition is good for politics, but when both sides of the aisle see the stakes as high as they are perceived, emotions can be running high.

​​”Voting Abbott out is imperative for women’s rights and the rights of people of color. We need Beto to get into office and undo the injustice that’s been served against us,” said Braxton Sackett, senior music therapy major.

The most recent special session passed through 666 new laws and most of them are unfavorable to the Democratic voters in Texas. Governors have the role in the Texas government of signing these bills into law, if a governor does not like the law they can veto it. A Democratic governor likely wouldn’t sign the laws, especially since the governor is the only person who can call a special session. Texas falls under a Republican trifecta; the office of the governor, the state House and the state Senate. With a Democratic governor, the Democratic party would be in charge for the first time since 1991 with Gov. Ann Richards.

Recent polling has given Governor Abbott a grim notice. A slight majority of voters, 51 to 42 percent, say that he does not deserve to be reelected, per a Quinnipiac University poll conducted via Texas registered voters. With this many Texas voters holding unfavorable views, ousting an incumbent is more likely, but the state will see as the gubernatorial election gets closer if the numbers stay the same.

In a recent Texas Tribune Festival interview, O’Rourke was adamant to state if he was going to be running for governor. Helping the residents of Texas has been the priority for O’Rourke and his efforts, with his organization registering, “a little over 200,000 Texans over the last year,” to vote, “organized during the winter freeze this past February,” and, “tried to get people signed up for vaccines during the initial rollout,” O’Rourke said.

O’Rourke hasn’t announced if he will run for governor as of Oct. 7, but if he stays true to his values of helping Texans, he more than likely will run for the position. Either way with the recent population changes and the unfavorability of Abbotts special sessions, the upcoming gubernatorial election on Nov.8, 2022 will be hard fought, for either side of the aisle.

“Regardless of political affiliation, I think many Texans are ready for someone other than Governor Abbott to take the reins and help our great state be exactly that, A great state,” Eatley said.

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