Texas Governor Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Beto O’Rourke went at it yesterday….
O’Rourke needed the debate since Abott has led in the polling from the start and Texas does NOT elect Democrats statewide…
Democrats have not won a gubernatorial race in Texas since Ann Richards was elected governor in 1990. The party also hasn’t won a statewide race in the Lone Star State since 1994 — Democrats’ longest statewide losing streak in the country.
Abbott, who is viewed as a potential 2024 presidential contender, has consistently led in the polls. A Quinnipiac University survey conducted September 22-26 found the governor with a 7-point edge over O’Rourke among likely voters, 53% to 46%.
The most recent campaign finance reports in mid-July showed O’Rourke keeping pace with Abbott’s fundraising, but the incumbent maintained a significant cash-on-hand edge with $46 million in the bank to his challenger’s $24 million.
On the campaign trail, O’Rourke has criticized Abbott’s opposition to abortion rights – the governor signed a so-called trigger law last year that went into effect in August and bans nearly all abortions in the state following the US Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. The Democrat has also criticized the Abbott administration’s management of the power grid during last year’s winter freeze and the governor’s rejection of gun restrictions in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting.
O’Rourke famously confronted Abbott and other officials at a news conference in Uvalde the day after the shooting, saying, “The time to stop the next shooting is right now and you are doing nothing.”
Abbott, meanwhile, has campaigned on tough border security policies, including busing migrants out of state to Democratic-run cities up North to protest the Biden administration’s immigration policies. He has also accused O’Rourke of seeking to undercut police funding, saying in an ad that O’Rourke wants to “defund and dismantle the police.” It was a reference to O’Rourke’s comments in 2020, in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, praising protesters for targeting “line items that have over militarized our police.” O’Rourke has said he does not support cutting funding for police in Texas.
“Look, I don’t think Greg Abbott wakes up wanting to see children shot in their schools or for the grid to fail, but it’s clear that he’s incapable or unwilling to make the changes necessary to prioritize the lives of our fellow Texans. That’s why it’s on all of us to make change at the ballot box,” O’Rourke said in his closing remarks.
In his closing, Abbott said: “I’m running for reelection to keep Texas No. 1 — to cut your property taxes, to secure the border, to keep dangerous criminals behind bars, and to keep deadly fentanyl off our streets.”….