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Beto O'Rourke says he's thinking of running for Texas governor, slights poll favorite Matthew McConaughey in new interview

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Former El Paso congressman Beto O'Rourke (left) and actor Matthew McConaughey (right) are both exploring bids for Texas governor.
Former El Paso congressman Beto O'Rourke (left) and actor Matthew McConaughey (right) are both exploring bids for Texas governor. Brandon Bell and Gary Miller/Getty Images
  • Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke said running for Texas governor is "something I'm thinking about."

  • "I don't know how he feels about any of the issues," he said about McConaughey, who may also run.

  • Recent polling shows McConaughey beating Gov. Abbott and O'Rourke.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

In an interview at the Texas Tribune festival on Friday, former El Paso congressman and one-time presidential contender Beto O'Rourke said he was mulling a run for Texas governor. He also took a swipe at Matthew McConaughey, an actor who's mulling his own potential gubernatorial bid.

"He's a really popular figure whose political views have not in any way been fixed. I don't know, for example, who he voted for in the most consequential election since 1864 in this country," O'Rourke said at the event, referring to the 2020 presidential election. "I don't know how he feels about any of the issues."

McConaughey, an enigmatic Hollywood figure and Texas icon, wrestled with the idea of running for office in a recent podcast.

"It's just, I'm more of a folk singin', philosopher, poet-statesman than I am a per-se definitive politician," McConaughey said. "So I go, 'Well that's a reason not to,' but then I go, 'Oh, well that's exactly why you should. Because politics needs redefinition.'"

Little is known about McConaughey's political stances other than a potential desire to run for office. The actor previously teamed up with Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, but has also been outspoken in favor of restrictions on access to certain firearms, according to KHOU.

Recent polling indicates that McConaughey is a stronger challenger to Abbott than O'Rourke; a poll from the Dallas Morning News released Sunday showed the actor leading incumbent Republican Governor Greg Abbott by 9 points, while O'Rourke trails Abbott by 5 points.

Axios previously reported that O'Rourke is "making and receiving calls" to run for governor, however sources previously confirmed to Insider that he has yet to make a final decision to run.

O'Rourke ran for US Senate against Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, losing by less than 3 percentage points in what was the closest Senate race in the state in 40 years.

The El Paso native, who served in Congress from 2013 to 2019, has loudly fought against Texas' new election and abortion laws, dubbing the recent abortion bill as the "worst anti-women's health care law in the country."

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