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Beto O’Rourke is running for Texas governor, capping months of speculation

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Beto O'Rourke speaks during a 2018 campaign appearance. - LUKE HAROLD / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Luke Harold / Wikimedia Commons
  • Beto O'Rourke speaks during a 2018 campaign appearance.
It's official: Beto O’Rourke, Texas' highest-profile Democratic political figure, will challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

After months of teasing a run, the former El Paso congressman made his 2022 campaign official on Monday morning.

“I’m running to serve the people of Texas, and I want to make sure that we have a governor that serves everyone, helps to bring this state together to do the really big things before us and get past the small, divisive politics and policies of Greg Abbott,” O’Rourke said in an interview with the Texas Tribune. “It is time for change.”

O'Rourke ran a close-call bid to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, but he failed to break away from the pack when he ran in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

O'Rourke commands substantially better name recognition and fundraising heft than other Democrats who have run against Abbott and lost by double digits. Even so, the two-term incumbent still has a substantial lead in building his campaign coffers, and the governor's mansion hasn't gone blue since 1990.

Recent polls show the majority of Texas voters are unhappy with how state leaders have handled the energy grid, abortion and property taxes, however. Further, a slim majority said in September that the state is "headed in the wrong direction."

While a recent Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation poll put O'Rourke and Abbott neck and neck, another by The Texas Tribune shows the the Democrat trailing by 9 points.

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