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Gov. Greg Abbott brands Beto O'Rourke as "Wrong Way O'Rourke" in a new campaign ad that criticizes the El Paso Democrat for his support of Black Lives Matter and efforts to defund the police.
For the record: O'Rourke hasn't actually said he's running for governor.
Yes but: It looks increasingly like he will. O'Rourke recently called out Abbott's "anti-science, anti-public health order" that bans businesses from mandating vaccinations.
He's also been talking with Democratic operatives about a potential run, as Axios previously reported.
Sources who work in Texas Democratic politics tell Axios that O'Rourke could declare before the holidays — possibly with a first reveal to an El Paso news outlet.
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With all the attention on a potential showdown, Axios is introducing a countdown clock to Beto's entry into the race (See above).
Flashback: A week-and-a-half ago, Abbott trotted out the "Wrong Way O'Rourke" barb in an ad that took aim at the former congressman on guns, immigration and the environment.
Expect Abbott to put the soundbites included in these two ads on incessant repeat between now and Election Day.
What they're saying: "Texas is not a swing state because Democrats haven't exhibited an ability to win here, but high quality, well-funded candidates can obviously give Republicans a run for their money," Joshua Blank, research director at the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas, tells Axios.
O'Rourke vs. Abbott, Blank said, "would be a competitive race."
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