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While O'Rourke previously downplayed reports of his candidacy, saying that he had "no plans" to challenge Abbott, the Texas Democrat appeared open to the possibility on Sunday, when he vowed to "see this fight" of expanding voting access through in response to MSNBC's Mehdi Hasan question about whether he'll run for governor next year.
"I'm going to see this fight through to the finish, and then after that, I'm going to see how I can serve Texas either as a candidate or supporting candidates," Beto said Sunday, referring to his fight against pending GOP legislation in the state that he claims would endanger voting rights in certain marginalized communities.
O'Rourke only began mulling over the idea to run for Texas governor in recent weeks, as the Associated Press reported on May 24 that he was keeping his options open for a run but had not taken formal steps toward a campaign.
"One way or the other, I'm in for the distance for Texas," O'Rourke continued.
O'Rourke has had harsh words for Texas's governor in the past, accusing Abbott of choosing to "sacrifice" lives for political gain after lifting the statewide mask mandate and reopening Texas's economy in early March.
"They literally want to sacrifice the lives of our fellow Texans for, I don’t know, political gain, to satisfy certain political interests within the state," O’Rourke told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace in response to Abbott’s announcement.
While Texas has traditionally been considered a Republican-leaning state, it has trended toward Democrats in recent years. Former President Donald Trump carried the state by single digits in both his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, and O'Rourke lost his 2018 Senate bid to incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz by fewer than 3 percentage points, the closest Senate race in Texas in decades.
If O'Rourke were to run for governor, it would be his third election cycle in a row as a candidate, following his 2018 Senate bid and his 2020 presidential run.
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Original Author: Kaelan Deese
Original Location: Beto O'Rourke floats run for Texas governor, vows he's 'in for the distance'