Politics High stakes for O'Rourke in Texas governor's debate Friday
Beto O'Rourke says he doesn't regret confronting Abbott, other Texas officials in Uvalde after school shooting
Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke said on Saturday that he doesn't regret confronting Gov. Abbott and other officials after the Uvalde shooting in May.The Democratic candidate in the Texas gubernatorial race interrupted a press conference one day after the shooting, telling Abbott and others who were briefing the community that they were "doing nothing" to stop future massacres.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) —spent his 50th birthday this week behind the wheel of his pickup in Texas, fast approaching a big moment in his uphill climb for governor.
While a road trip through college campuses showed how the Democrat continues to draw big crowds — a photo line at the University of Texas snaked across an outdoor plaza in 90-degree heat — O'Rourke is still trying to close in onwith six weeks until Election Day, Nov. 8.
Texas Gov. Abbott pulling away from O’Rourke thanks to abortion and border
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is pulling away from Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, aided by the support of Hispanics and the state’s opposition to abortion. In the latest Emerson College/the Hill survey, the abortion issue — recently supercharged by the U.S. Supreme Court’s move to strike down Roe v. Wade — appeared to be helping the Republican governor.Ditto with the ongoing border crisis, which has prompted the governor to ship illegal immigrants to Washington, including dozens sent to the gate of Vice President Kamala Harris’s official home.
That raises the stakes for O'Rourke on Friday night in his only debate against Abbott, who has tried toon the U.S.-Mexico border as anger in Texas over a new and the continues flaring.
With early voting set to begin in just over three weeks, some O'Rourke supporters are looking for significant swings during the debate, which the former 2020 presidential candidate knows better than most.
“Here's the way I see it: Most Texans are just beginning to tune into this election,” O'Rourke said in an interview. The Democrat emphasized that Abbott started running television spots before his campaign, which has pulled in at least $30 million and put has the two-term governor.
Greg Abbott and Beto O'Rourke set to debate: What to expect
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Beto O'Rourke will debate on Friday at 7 p.m. CT on Nexstar Both candidates come to the stage with long political careers, well-known records and established public personas.
Abbott, who wants to stomp out Democrats' latest attempt to flip America's biggest Republican-led state, isn't ready to say this may be his tightest race.
"This game ain't over yet, and we'll see how close it is when all is said and done," he told reporters this month.
Like many Democrats running in November, O'Rourke is drawing on outrage over abortion access and mass shootings, issues that have energized voters elsewhere. But as Texas Democrats also know, those same issues have failed to carry them in past elections.
A new Texas abortion ban is threatening GOP support with women and hasover unpopular restrictions that make The Uvalde school shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers has also elevated emotions in the race, with and O'Rourke who laughed over gun control.
Abbott and O'Rourke clash over immigration, abortion in Texas governor's debate
The Friday debate is likely to be the only one before November.The Rio Grande Valley debate is likely to be the only faceoff between the gubernatorial candidates ahead of November, in a race where O’Rourke is fighting to cut Abbott’s lead. A recent set of polls shows the two-term Republican governor ahead by about 7 points as the share of undecided voters decreases. O’Rourke has broad support among Latinos and other people of color, while Abbott still has a strong hold on white voters across the state, as well as rural voters.
O’Rourke, shrugging off recent polls that showed him trailing, pointed to traditionally conservative Kansasand Democrats winning special congressional elections in New York and Alaska as a sign of a shift in the electorate .
To say O'Rourke has been here before would be true of just about anywhere in Texas.
Just as he did in his, O'Rourke has spent months visiting nearly every corner of the almost 800-mile-wide state, driving into the most strongly Republican counties in an effort to weaken the wall of rural support that has helped the GOP offset losses in booming big cities and suburbs.
He stunned both parties four years ago by finishing within 3 percentage points of unseating Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. In the governor's race, O'Rourke has run a more attacking campaign but also has been forced to confront his past positions, none more than his promise to ban AR-15-style weapons during a Democratic presidential debate in 2019.
O'Rourke: I will work to return Roe vs. Wade
President Joe Biden on Friday (September 30) said the destruction in Florida from Hurricane Ian is likely to be among the worst in U.S. history and he has directed every possible action be taken to save lives.
In the aftermath of the Uvalde shooting, O'Rourke has called to raise minimum age to purchase such weapons to 21, something Abbott.
“If Beto can coax Abbott into a moment where there's a stark difference on, say, gun control I think that can have a big impact,” said Jason Villalba, a former Republican state lawmaker. “But to do that you have to be aggressive and take large risks."
Villalba, who now runs the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation, said O'Rourke has had to overcome “baggage” from his presidential campaign. Villalba believes the fortunes of the former El Paso congressman are in the hands of newly registered women voters and whether he can close the gap in rural counties.
Friday's debate is in Edinburg, along the southern border, where Abbott and Republicans are trying to make aggressive inroads with Hispanic voters after the region, traditionally a Democratic stronghold, made big swings toward then-President Donald Trump in 2020. It will be first time the two candidates have been face to face since O'Rourke, which drew a mix of boors and cheers from the crowd at the time.
“I think he just feels like, 'I've had enough' and we all feel that way,” said Mary Zambrano, 32, who dropped in to see O'Rourke at an Austin gymnasium on Saturday. “At this point, you have to go all in.”
Associated Press writer Acacia Coronado contributed to this report.
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Top four takeaways from first and only TV debate between Abbott and O’Rourke .
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