The 49-year-old politician served as mayor pro tempore of El Paso, Texas between 2005 and 2006, and as a member of the House of Representatives from Texas’s 16th district between 2013 and 2019. He dropped out of the Democratic primaries for the 2020 presidential nomination in November 2019, garnering just one vote.
Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke announced a run for the governor’s office on Monday.
In a video address posted to Twitter, O’Rourke accused Texas’s Republican authorities of “abandoning” residents during last winter’s failure of the electricity grid and of “dividing” Texans by focusing on issues like abortion and permitless carry.
“Those in positions of public trust have stopped listening to, serving and paying attention to and trusting the people of Texas, and so they’re not focused on the things that we really want them to do, like making sure that we have a functioning electricity grid, or that we’re creating the best jobs in America right here in Texas, or that we have world-class schools, or that we make progress on the things that most of us actually agree on, like expanding Medicaid, or legalizing marijuana,” O’Rourke said in his pitch.
Texans will go to the polls in November 2022 for gubernatorial elections, with O’Rourke being the first Democrat to challenge Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican.
O’Rourke ran for president in 2020 after losing a bid for the Senate in 2018 – challenging Texas Republican Ted Cruz. He withdrew from the presidential race in late 2019, before any Democratic Party primaries were held. He received one primary vote via write-in, even though his name did not appear in any ballots.
O’Rourke has been described as a progressive, liberal, centrist politician, supporting stronger anti-trust laws, demanding the elimination of private prisons, favouring the legalization of cannabis, supporting more federal aid for public school systems, and pushing his party’s broader climate change agenda.
On foreign policy, he has criticized Saudi Arabia and Israel and expressed support for a two-state solution, but called US ties with Tel Aviv “one of the most important relationships that we have on the planet.”
He was a supporter of the Iran nuclear deal, called for an end to the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, slammed the Obama administration’s bombing of Libya, but supported the Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theory. He supported Trump’s trade war with China, and criticized US interventionism as a source of the migrant crisis on the US’s southern border.
The State of Texas by itself has one of the largest economies in the world, and is America’s second-most populous state after California. The governorship is one of the most significant elected offices in the US as a whole.