Politics Beto O'Rourke raises $2M in 24 hours for long-shot gubernatorial bid. Will it help?
What Beto O’Rourke has to overcome in Texas
Democrats’ record — and his own.O’Rourke is perhaps the most well-known Texas Democrat, having built up a local and national profile over the course of two campaigns in three years. But Texas is tough for any Democrat to crack. There have been three decades of Republican hegemony in the state, and even the most ideal Democratic candidate would be seen as an underdog.
Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke in the first 24 hours of his bid, his campaign told the Texas Tribune. The former congressman has previously reported impressive fundraising numbers in unsuccessful bids for the Senate and the White House, leaving some asking if this race is any different.
The O'Rourke campaign called the sum a record "for any Democratic gubernatorial candidate for the first 24 hours" of a campaign and the most raised in the "first 24 hours of any campaign in 2021."
Texas Man Tells Beto O'Rourke to 'Get the Hell Out' During Campaign Stop
"I'm in your grill telling you don't come back. We don't want you here," the man told O'Rourke in a video that has gone viral on Twitter.In the video, the man identifies himself as a native Houstonian named Robert and asks to shake O'Rourke's hand before unloading his thoughts on the candidate.
But O'Rourke’s reputation as a fundraising powerhouse doesn’t make his candidacy any less of a long shot. He is running against an incumbent governor, Greg Abbott, who hasin his campaign war chest. Polls show O'Rourke currently trailing Abbott in the Lone Star State, and he has to overcome the baggage of two previous failed campaigns.
In this race, O'Rourke does have some advantages: He is arguably Texas’s most widely known Democrat, and Abbott in September receivedsince taking office, with 50% disapproving of his job performance and just 41% supporting.
But impressive fundraising numbers didn’t lead to wins in his two previous campaigns.
Texas Voters More Likely to Vote for Matthew McConaughey Over Beto O'Rourke, Poll Shows
McConaughey has not yet said whether he will run for governor in 2022, but the actor has been dropping heavy hints throughout the past year. Meanwhile, O'Rourke, a former three-term member of the House of Representatives from El Paso, announced his run last week. Nonetheless, McConaughey, a self-described "statesman-philosopher, folk-singing poet," has continually fared well in recent polls, suggesting that he may be able to put up a tough fight against both O'Rourke and GOP Governor Greg Abbott.
In 2018, as a little-known congressman from an El Paso-area district, O'Rourke launched a campaign against Texas Sen. Ted Cruz,, more than double what Cruz raised. O'Rourke rose to national prominence during that effort, noted for his ability to energize young voters. But some national Democrats questioned whether that money would be better spent in more winnable races. O'Rourke ultimately failed, but he came within 3% of Cruz.
O'Rourke then launched a bid for the Democratic nomination for president, where supporters hoped he could channel his fundraising prowess into a successful campaign, but he ultimatelysome quarters than he did as a Senate candidate.
But in his new statewide campaign, some of the advantages O'Rourke enjoyed in 2018 are. In 2018, then-President Donald Trump had approval rating heading into Election Day in the midterm elections, with an approval rating of just 39%. Now, President Joe Biden, a member of O'Rourke’s party, has a approval rating. Glenn Youngkin’s victory in Virginia and unexpected GOP gains in New Jersey suggest voters will lean toward Republicans next year, yet another hurdle for O'Rourke.
Will Beto O'Rourke Capitalize on Matthew McConaughey Withdrawing From Texas Governor Race?
A recent poll suggested Texans would choose McConaughey over O'Rourke by 49 percent to 27 percent if the actor ran for governor.The Dallas Buyers Club and Interstellar star confirmed that he will not throw his hat into the ring and challenge Greg Abbott to become the next Texas Governor in a video posted on Twitter Sunday night.
Joshua Blank, research director at the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas, recentlythat O'Rourke was "a shiny new object" during his Senate bid, but "things after that have gotten a little more complicated."
"Ultimately, running against Ted Cruz is an easy sell among Democrats," Blank said. "Once he jumped into the 2020 presidential primary, he had to distinguish himself from other Democrats and that just by its nature creates more conflict, even within one's party."
Blank added that O'Rourke is “going to both benefit and face some costs by being a known quantity in 2022."
Republicans were quick to point to O’Rourke's two previous failed campaigns to paint him as unelectable.
“There is no amount of money that will make Beto O’Rourke a palatable candidate for a majority of Texas voters," Joanna Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the Republican Governors Association, told the Washington Examiner. "He kissed his chances at statewide office goodbye when he vowed to confiscate the firearms of law-abiding citizens, pledged to tear down physical barriers along the border, and supported regulations that would kill over a million jobs across the state and raise taxes and the cost of living on families and small businesses. Donating to him is equivalent to lighting money on fire.”
Beto O'Rourke Raises $2M in a Day, Greg Abbott Has $55M War Chest
Next year's Texas gubernatorial race is likely to involve a lot of money. No Democrat has won the office since 1990.O'Rourke, a former congressman who ran unsuccessfully against now-Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) in 2018, raised $2 million within 24 hours of announcing his campaign for governor on Monday, according to his campaign team.
In a statement this month after O’Rourke announced his candidacy, Republican Party of Texas Chairman Matt Rinaldi said: “As far-left progressivism is rejected by voters nationwide, the Texas Democratic Party is doubling down on extremist politicians like O’Rourke.”
“Texans want lower taxes, good schools and a strong economy, not vaccine mandates, January 6 hearings, a Green New Deal, and ‘everything is racist,’” Rinaldi said. “O’Rourke’s latest campaign will end the same way the last few have, with a concession speech.”
Some Democrats pushed back on the idea that they shouldn’t compete in a red state. Mike Nellis, a Democratic digital strategist, recently tweeted that people “dunking” on O’Rourke “are completely missing the point.”
“Maybe he can't win. Who knows!” Nellis wrote. “But it's important for Democrats to compete seriously everywhere. It builds the bench and strengthens the party. I'm glad he's running — win or lose.”
In his current campaign, O'Rourke appears poised to focus on state issues rather than national ones. In a video announcing his candidacy, O’Rourke referenced the failure of the state’s electricity grid in February and said Republicans prioritized “divisive” issues.
Matthew McConaughey still deciding if he will run for Texas Governor
McConaughey, who lives in Austin, has for months teased a run to unseat Republican Gregg Abbott - and was even tipped to beat the incumbent by pollsters this week in a head-to-head race. However, the 52-year-old actor and philanthropist would also need to see off stiff competition from Democrat Beto O'Rourke, and has yet to say whether he would run as a red or a blue.In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday, the married father-of-three was asked as a 'straight shooter' if he would give a straight answer on whether he was going to run, with the deadline looming on December 13.
“It’s a symptom of a much larger problem that we have in Texas right now,” he said. “Those in positions of public trust have stopped listening to, serving and paying attention to and trusting the people of Texas.”
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O'Rourke seizes on Texas power grid in bid against Abbott .
Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D) is seizing on Texans' concerns over their energy grid following the devastating winter storm earlier this year in his bid to oust Gov. Greg Abbott (R).The O'Rourke campaign sees the grid as a solid wedge issue in the traditionally red state, and will emphasize what it characterizes as failures by Abbott to defend his constituents from deadly temperatures and soaring power bills."People in their homes wereThe O'Rourke campaign sees the grid as a solid wedge issue in the traditionally red state, and will emphasize what it characterizes as failures by Abbott to defend his constituents from deadly temperatures and soaring power bills.